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Chapter I. Beginning of the American Domination. 


Condition of the province at the end of the Spanish domina- 
tion — Boundaries and divisions — New Orleans — Adminis- 
tration of law — Louisianians wish to preserve the French 
language in public affairs — Biography of Claiborne — Loui- 
siana divided — Act establishing the Territory of Orleans — 
Debates in Congress — Dissatisfaction in Louisiana — The 
first American City Council — Resignation of Mayor Bore — 
James Pitot elected mayor — Establishment of the Louisiana 
Bank — Petition to Congress — First officials of the Territory 
of Orleans — Claiborne's inaugural address and first mes- 
sage — Celebration of the first anniversary of the cession — 
Acts of the Legislative Council — First aldermen of New 
Orleans — Mayor Watkins — Poydras's last address to the 
Legislative Council — Manners and customs 3 

Chapter II. The Territory of Orleans. 

Memorial of the inhabitants of Louisiana presented to Con- 
gress — A new form of government for the Territory of Or- 
leans — Claiborne again appointed governor — The first repre- 
sentatives elected by the people — Patriotism of the new 
Americans — Dissolution of the Legislative Council — Motives 
of discontent of the members — Claiborne's judicious reply 
— Insurrection in New Feliciana against Spain — Dispute 
about the frontier line — Conciliatory policy of Jefferson — 
Wilkinson goes to Sabine River — Aaron Burr's plot — Wil- 
kinson's arbitrary measures in New Orleans — Later career 
of the conspirators — Foundation of Donaldsonville — Acts 
of the Legislature — About education — Apprentices and in- 
dentured servants — Slaves — Free people of color — The Black 
Code — The Civil Code — Pike's expedition 33 

Chapter III. Preparing for Statehood. 

Edward Livingston and the Batture — Digest of the civil laws 
— Immigrants from Santo Domingo leave Cuba for New 



Orleans — Great mortality among the troops in Louisiana 
— Patriotic letter of the City Council to President Madi- 
son — Revolution in West Florida — A convention called — 
Preamble to a plan of a constitution — Capture of the Baton 
Rouge fort — Declaration of independence of West Florida — 
Claiborne ordered to take possession of West Florida — De- 
bates in the Senate — Speech of Henry Clay — Census of 
1810 — Speeches of Josiah Quincy and of Poindexter in the 
House — Bill admitting the Territory as a State — Revolt of 
slaves in 1811 — Constitutional Convention of 1811 — Loui- 
siana admitted into the Union in 1812 — Arrival of the first 
steamboat — The first officials of the State 53 

Chapter IV. Invasion by the British. 

Preparations for war with Great Britain — General Wilkin- 
son constructs Fort Bowycr — Claiborne's proclamation about 
the Baratarians — Jean and Pierre Lafitte — Reward for Jean 
Lafitte's capture — His response — Claiborne's letter to Jack- 
son — Lafitte sends to the Americans the papers received from 
the British — The establishment at Barataria destroyed — The 
British attack Fort Bowyer and are repelled — Proclamation 
of General Jackson to the Louisianians — Jackson captures 
Pensacola — Battle of Lake Borgne — Refusal of the Legis- 
lature to suspend the writ of habeas corpus — Martial law — 
Jackson's address to the troops — Bayou Bienvenu — The 
British arrive at Villere plantation 83 

Chapter V. The Battles of December, 1814, and 
January 8, 1815. 

Battle of December 23, 1814 — Destruction of the Carolina — 
Battle of December 28, 1814 — Interference with the Legis- 
lature — Artillery battle of January 1, 1815 — Battle of New 
Orleans — Jackson's reports of the battle — Nolte's state- 
ment about cotton bales used in intrenchments — Jackson's 
general orders — An Englishman's opinion of the campaign 112 

Chapter VI. After the Battle. 

Thanksgiving at the cathedral — Jackson's letter to Mayor 
(iin><l — The Legislature omits Jackson's name in its vote 
of thinks to the soldiers — The British capture Fort Bowyer 



— Jackson's unjust treatment of the French in Louisiana — 
Louallier's letter criticizing Jackson — Arrest of Louallier 
and of Judge Hall — Order to arrest Hollander — Orders to 
arrest Lewis and Dick — Jackson condemned to pay a fine 
of one thousand dollars — President Madison praises the 
Louisianians — Resolutions of Congress — Resolutions of the 
Legislature of Louisiana — Bernard Marigny's " Reflections 
on the Campaign of Jackson" 143 

Chapter VII. Period of Development — 1815 to 1831. 

Period of tranquillity — Prosperity of Louisiana from 1815 
to I860— Claiborne's farewell address— Election of Gov- 
ernor Villere — Death of Claiborne — Important laws in 1817 
and 1818— Early steamboats in Louisiana — Restriction of 
immigration — Abatement of party spirit — Debt of the State 
extinguished— Report on public education in 1820 — The 
word slavery appears in a public document in 1820 — Robert- 
son's fiery messages — Lotteries authorized — Cold weather in 
1823— Lafayette in Louisiana in 1825 — Livingston's Crim- 
inal Code— Report on the overflows of the Mississippi— 
Meeting of the Legislature at Donaldsonville in 1831 — Dan- 
ger of disparity in numbers between the white and the black 
population — Return of the Legislature to New Orleans . 176 

Chapter VIII. Fifteen Years of Growth — 1831 to 


Governor Roman's inaugural address — Address of congrat- 
ulations to the French people on the Revolution of 1830 — 
Cholera in 1832 — Resolutions about nullification — Board of 
public works created — Riot in New Orleans in 1834 — New 
Orleans divided into three municipalities — Financial trou- 
bles — Progress of the sugar industry — Documents relating to 
Louisiana in the archives at Paris — Constitutional Conven- 
tion — Encouragement of literary talent — Libraries in New 
Orleans in 1846 — Reorganization of the Louisiana Histori- 
cal Society — Growth of Louisiana as an American State . 217 

Chapter IX. From the Mexican War to the Civil 
War— 1846 to 1861. 

Taylor's army of occupation — Louisiana troops in the Mexi- 
can War — Public schools helped by the esta' lishment of a 
university — Governor Isaac Johnson on the \\ ; .lmot Proviso 



— The University of Louisiana — President Hawks's report 
— Baton Rouge the capital of Louisiana — Consolidation of 
the three municipalities in New Orleans — Epidemics in 1853 
and 1854 — The Know-Nothing party — The destruction of 
Last Island — Disorder in New Orleans in 1858 — Secession 
Convention of 1861 — Governor Moore takes possession of 
forts and arsenals in Louisiana — Ordinance of Secession . 244 



Scene of the transfer of Louisiana from France to the 
United States in the Place d'Armes at New Orleans, 
December 20, 1803. Hand-finished Water-color Facsimile, re- 
produced from an original painting by T. de Thulstrup Frontispiece 

William Charles Cole Claiborne, 1775-1817, one of the 
United States Commissioners to whom Louisiana was trans- 
ferred by the French Colonial Prefect Laussat. Governor 
of the Territory of Orleans, 1804, and first Governor of the 
State of Louisiana, 1812-1816. From a contemporary paint- 
ing belonging to his grandson, Mr. W. C. C. Claiborne, New 
Orleans, La 20 

Aaron Burr, 1756-1836, author of a conspiracy to secure the 
independence of Orleans. He was Vice-President of the 
United States, 1801, and shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, 
July 11, 1804. From a painting by John Vanderlyn in the 
possession of the New York Historical Society .... 44 

Julien Poydras, 1740-1824 (upper left), great public 
benefactor and founder of the Poydras Asylum, New Orleans. 
He was president of the first Legislative Council of the Terri- 
tory of Orleans. From a painting in the Poydras Asylum, 
New Orleans, La 60 

Jean Noel Destrehan, died in 1824 (upper right), Speaker 
of the House of Representatives of the Territory of Orleans. 
From a painting belonging to his grandson, Judge Emile 
Rost, New Orleans, La 60 

Edward Livingston, 1764-1836 (centre), author of a code 
of criminal law. Was United States Senator from Louisiana 
in 1829, Secretary of State in Jackson's Cabinet, 1831, and 




Minister Plenipotentiary to France in 1833. From a paint- 
ing by Henry Inman belonging to Mr. Carleton Hunt and 
sisters., — Louise Livingston Hunt and Julia Barton Hunt, — 
heirs of the late Mrs. Cora L. Barton (daughter of Edward 
Livingston), Montgomery Place, Barrytown-on-Hudson, N.Y. 60 

Jean Etienne de Bore, 1741-1819 (lower left), the 
first successful sugar-planter in Louisiana. Was the first 
mayor of New Orleans in 1803, when the Cabildo was 
abolished by the French Colonial Prefect Laussat. From a 
contemporary painting in the Sugar Exchange, New Orleans, 
La 60 

Valcour Aime, 1798-1867 (lower right), the pioneer in 
refining sugar directly from the cane-juice. From a contem- 
porary miniature belonging to his grandson, Professor Alcee 
Fortier, New Orleans, La 60 

Major-General Andrew Jackson, 1767-1845, who de- 
feated the British forces under General Pakenham at the 
Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. He was afterward 
seventh President of the United States, 1829-1837, and was 
popularly known as " Old Hickory." From the painting by 
John Vanderlyn, executed in 1819, in the City Hall, New 
York 86 

Major-General the Honorable Sir Edward Michael 
Pakenham, G. C. B., 1778-1815; who eight times received 
the thanks of Parliament for his conduct in the Peninsular 
War, and was killed in action at New Orleans, January 8, 
1815, aged 37. From a water-color drawing by T. Heaphy, 
1815, belonging to the Dowager Lady Longford, London . 100 

Battle of New Orleans. Drawn on the field of battle and 
painted by Hthe. Laclotte, architect and assistant engineer in 
the Louisiana army. From an engraving in colors by P. L. 
Debucourt belonging to Mr. T. P. Thompson, New Orleans, 
La 122 



Major-General, William Carroll, 1788-1844 (upper left), 
who commanded the detachment of West Tennessee Militia 
under Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, and was 
afterward Governor of Tennessee. From the painting by 
Washington B. Cooper belonging to the Tennessee Historical 
Society 136 

Brigadier-General John Coffee, 1772-1834 (upper right), 
who commanded the left brigade under Jackson at the Battle 
of New Orleans. He was a brother-in-law of General Jack- 
son. From a painting by R. E. W. Earle now in the Her- 
mitage, near Nashville, Tenn 136 

Major-General Philemon Thomas, 1763-1847 (centre), 
who captured the Spanish fort of Baton Rouge, 1810. From 
a contemporary painting in the State Capitol at Baton 
Rouge, La 136 

Major Jean Baptiste Plauche, 1785-1860 (lower left), 
who commanded a battalion of volunteers under Jackson at 
the Battle of New Orleans, and was named in General Orders 
for his activity, courage, and zeal. From a painting belong- 
ing to his granddaughter, Madame Charles de Lassus, New 
Orleans, La . 136 

Colonel Michel Fortier, 1750-1819 (lower right), who 
took part in the campaigns of Governor Galvez, and was a 
member of the first City Council of New Orleans. From a 
miniature belonging to his great-grandson, Professor Alcee 
Fortier, New Orleans, La 136 

Plan of the City and Suburbs of New Orleans. From an 
actual survey made in 1815 by J. Tanesse, city surveyor, 
showing all the principal buildings as they then existed. 
From an engraving in the Howard Memorial Library, New 
Orleans, La 160 

Giant Steamboats on the Mississippi, showing the levee at 
New Orleans. From a painting by Hippolyte Victor Valen- 



tin Sebron, 1853, belonging to tbe Tulane University of 
Louisiana 186 

Pierre Derbigny, 1767-1829 (upper left), Governor of Loui- 
siana, 1828-1829- From a portrait in crayon at the Loui- 
siana State University, Baton Rouge, La 206 

Jacques Philippe Villere, 1761-1830 (upper right), Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana, 1816-1820. Was major-general of State 
militia in the Battle of New Orleans. From a portrait in 
crayon at the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. 206 

Thomas Bolling Robertson, 1784-1828 (centre), Governor 
of Louisiana, 1820—1824. From a portrait in crayon at 
the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. . . . 206 

Henry Johnson, 1783-1864 (lower left), Governor of 
Louisiana, 1824-1828. From a portrait in crayon at the 
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La 206 

Andre Bienvenu Roman, 1795-1866 (lower right), Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana, 1831-1835 and 1839-1843. From a por- 
trait in crayon at the Louisiana State University, Baton 
Rouge, La 206 

Edward Douglas White, 1795-1847 (upper left), Governor 
of Louisiana, 1835-1839- From a portrait in crayon 
at the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. . . . 224 

Alexandre Mouton, 1804-1882 (upper right), Governor 
of Louisiana, 1843—1846. From a portrait in crayon at the 
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La 224 

Isaac Johnson, 1805-1853 (centre), Governor of Louisiana, 
1846-1850. From a portrait in crayon at the Louisiana 
State University, Baton Rouge, La 224 

Joseph Marshall Walker, 1780-1856 (lower left), Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana, 1850-1853. From a portrait in crayon 
at the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. . . . 224 



Robert Charles Wickliffe, 1820-1895 (lower right), 
Governor of Louisiana, 1856—1860. From a portrait in 
crayon at the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. 224 

Major-General Zachary Taylor, 1784-1850, "the hero of 
the Mexican War," popularly known as " Old Rough and 
Ready." He commanded the army of occupation in Texas, 
1845, and was afterward twelfth President of the United 
States, 1849-1850. From a painting belonging to his grand- 
daughter, Mrs. Walter Robinson Stauffer, New Orleans, La. 244 


Volume III 


Beginning of the American Domination 

Condition of the province at the end of the Spanish domination — Boundaries 
and divisions — New Orleans — Administration of law — Louisianians wish to 
preserve the French language in public affairs — Biography of Claiborne — 
Louisiana divided — Act establishing the Territory of Orleans — Debates in 
Congress — Dissatisfaction in Louisiana — The first American City Council — 
Resignation of Mayor Bore — James Pitot elected mayor — Establishment 
of the Louisiana Bank — Petition to Congress — First officials of the Terri- 
tory of Orleans — Claiborne's inaugural address and first message — Cele- 
bration of the first anniversary of the cession — Acts of the Legislative 
Council— First aldermen of New Orleans — Mayor Watkins— Poydras's last 
address to the Legislative Council— Manners and customs. 

HAT the reader may understand the 
changes brought about by the trans- 
fer of Louisiana to the United States 
and the progress during the Ameri- 
can domination, it is necessary to 
present briefly the condition of the 
province at the end of the Spanish 

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domination. We give here a few extracts from the in- 
teresting digest of information received by President 
Jefferson and communicated by him to Congress on 
November 14, 1803: 

The precise boundaries of Louisiana, westward of the Missis- 
sippi, though very extensive, are involved in some obscurity. Data 
are equally wanting to assign with precision its northern extent. 


From the source of the Mississippi, it is bounded eastwardly by the 
middle of the channel of that river, to the thirty-first degree of 
latitude; thence, it is asserted, upon very strong grounds, that, 
according to its limits when formerly possessed by France, it 
stretches to the east as far, at least, as the river Perdido, which 
runs into the bay of Mexico, eastward of the river Mobile. 

The province as held by Spain, including a part of West 
Florida, is laid off in the following principal divisions: Mobile, 
from Balize to the city, New Orleans, and the country on both sides 
of Lake Pontchartrain, First and Second German Coasts, Caba- 
hanose, Fourche, Venezuela, Iberville, Galveztown, Baton Rouge, 
Pointc Coupee, Attakapas, Opelousas, Ouachita, Avoyelles, 
Rapides, Natchitoches, Arkansas, and the Illinois. 

The city of New Orleans, which is regularly laid out on 
the east side of the Mississippi, in latitude thirty degrees north, 
and longitude ninety degrees west, extends nearly a mile along 
the river, from the gate of France on the south, to that of Chapi- 
toulas [Tchoupitoulas] above, and a little more than one third of a 
mile in breadth from the river to the rampart; but it has an ex- 
tensive suburb on the upper side. The houses in front of the town, 
and for a square or two backward, are mostly of brick, covered 
with slate or tile, and many are of two stories. The remainder 
are of wood, covered with shingles. The streets cross each 
other at right angles, and are thirty-two French feet wide. 
There is in the middle of the city a place dfarmes, facing which 
are the church and town-house. There are from twelve to four- 
teen hundred houses in the city and its suburbs. The population 
is estimated at ten thousand, including the seamen and the gar- 
rison. It was fortified in 1793, but the works were defective, 
could not have been defended, and arc now in ruins. The powder- 
magazine is on the opposite bank of the river. 

The public buildings and other public property in New Or- 
leans are as follows: Two very extensive brick stores, from 
one hundred and sixty to one hundred and eighty feet in length, 
and about thirty feet in breadth. They arc one story high and 


covered with shingles. A government house, stables, and garden, 
occupying a front of about two hundred and twenty feet on the 
river, in the middle of the town, and extending three hundred and 
thirty-six feet to the next street. A military hospital. An ill- 
built custom-house of wood, almost in ruins, in the upper part of 
the city, near the river. An extensive barrack in the lower part 
of the city, fronting on the river, and calculated to lodge twelve 
or fourteen hundred men. A large lot adjoining the King's 
stores, with a few sheds in it, serves as a park for artillery. A 
prison, town-house, market-house, assembly-room, some ground- 
rents, and the common about the town. A public school for the 
rudiments of the Spanish language. A cathedral church un- 
finished, and houses belonging to it. A charitable hospital, with 
houses belonging to it, and a revenue of fifteen hundred dollars 
annually endowed by a person recently deceased. 1 

When the country was ceded to Spain, she preserved many of 
the French regulations ; but by almost imperceptible degrees they 
have disappeared, and at present the province is governed entirely 
by the laws of Spain and the ordinances formed expressly for the 
colony. The governor's court has civil and criminal jurisdiction 
throughout the province; that of the lieutenant-governor has 
jurisdiction to the same extent, in civil cases only. There are two 
alcaldes, whose jurisdiction, civil and criminal, extends through- 
out the city of New Orleans and five leagues around it, where the 
parties have no military privilege; those who have that privilege 
can transfer their cases to the governor. The tribunal of the 
intendant has cognizance of admiralty and fiscal causes, and such 
suits as are brought for recovery of money in the King's name, or 
against him. The tribunal of the alcalde provincial has cogni- 
zance of criminal causes, where offenses are committed in the 
country, or when the criminal takes refuge there, and in other 
specified cases. The ecclesiastical tribunal has jurisdiction in all 
matters respecting the church. 

The governor, lieutenant-governor, alcaldes, intendant, al- 
calde provincial, and the provisor in ecclesiastical causes, are, re- 



spectively, sole judges. All sentences affecting the life of the 
culprit, except those of the alcalde provincial, must be approved by 
the superior tribunal, or by the captain-general, according to the 
nature of the cause, before they are carried into execution. The 
governor has not the power of pardoning criminals. An auditor 
and an assessor, who are doctors of law, are appointed to give 
counsel to those judges; but for some time past there has been 
no assessor. If the judges do not consult those officers, or do 
not follow their advice, they make themselves responsible for their 
decisions. The commandants of districts have also a species of 
judicial power. They hear and determine all pecuniary causes not 
exceeding the value of one hundred dollars. Where the suit is 
for a larger sum, they begin the process, collect the proofs, and 
remit the whole to the governor, to be decided by the proper 
tribunal. They can inflict no corporal punishment except upon 
slaves, but they have the power of arresting and imprisoning 
when they think it necessary; advice of which, and their reasons, 
must be transmitted to the governor. 

Small suits are determined in a summary way, by hearing both 
parties, viva-voce; but in suits of greater magnitude the pro- 
ceedings are carried on by petition and reply, replication and re- 
joinder, reiterated until the auditor thinks they have nothing 
more to say. Then all the proofs that either party chooses to 
adduce are taken before the keeper of the records of the court, 
who is always a notary public. The parties have now an op- 
portunity of making their remarks upon the evidence, by way of 
petition, and of bringing forward opposing proofs. When the 
auditor considers the cause as mature, he issues his decree, which 
receives its binding force from the governor's signature, where 
the cause comes before him. There is an appeal to Havana, if 
applied for within five days after the date of the decree, in 
causes above a certain value. An ulterior appeal lies to the 
Audience, which formerly sat at Santo Domingo, but which is now 
removed to some port of Cuba; and thence to the Council of the 
Indies, in Spain. 


Suits are of various durations. In pecuniary matters, the laws 
encourage summary proceedings. An execution may be had on 
a bond in four days ; and in the same time on a note of hand, 
after the drawer has acknowledged it, or after his signature is 
proved. Movable property is sold, after giving nine days' warn- 
ing, provided it be three times publicly cried in that interval. 
Landed property must be likewise cried three times, with intervals 
of nine days, and it may then be sold. All property taken in 
execution must be appraised, and sold for at least half of the 
appraisement. In pecuniary matters, the governors decide ver- 
bally, without appeal, when the sum does not exceed one hun- 
dred dollars. The alcaldes have the same privilege when the 
amount is not more than twenty dollars. 

In addition to these courts, four years ago there were estab- 
lished four alcaldes de barrio, or petty magistrates — one for each 
of the four quarters of the city — with a view to improve its police. 
They hear and decide all demands not exceeding ten dollars; ex- 
ercise the power of committing to prison ; and in case of robbery, 
riot, or assassination they can, by calling upon a notary, take 
cognizance of the affair; but when this is done they are bound 
to remit the proceedings to some of the other judges, and, in all 
cases, to give them information when they have committed any 
person to prison. 

Most of the suits are personal contracts, rights to dower, in- 
heritances, and titles to land. Those arising from personal quar- 
rels are usually decided in a summary way. The inhabitants are 
said not to be litigious. 

The number of lawyers is small, not exceeding three or four 
attorneys, and their fees are small. Suits are carried on in 
writings, called escritos, which may be drawn up by the parties 
themselves, if they please, but they must be presented by the 
escribano, or notary, who is the keeper of the records of the court. 
The fees of the judges are twenty-five cents for every half signa- 
ture or flourish (which is usually affixed on common occasions), 
fifty cents for every whole signature; and two dollars and three 


fourths for every attendance, as at a sale, or the taking of evi- 
dence. The fees of the abogado, or person consulted by the judges 
on law points, are twelve and a half cents for every leaf of which 
{he process consists, and four dollars for every point of law 
cited. Those of the attorney are sixty-two and a half cents for 
a simple petition, or escrlto; but if it should be necessary to read 
a process in order to form his petition, and if it should require 
much time and labor, he is compensated in proportion, besides 
receiving twelve and a half cents a leaf for reading the papers. 
For attendance on any business, he is allowed one dollar and 
fifty cents for two and a half hours. The notary has fifty cents 
for each decree or order of the judge; twenty-five cents for a 
notification in his office; and fifty cents for one out of it, but 
within the city; one dollar and seven eighths for every attendance 
of two and a half hours on business, and twenty-five cents addi- 
tional for every leaf of paper written by him. 

A counselor or two have sometimes resided in New Orleans, 
but as they have been usually found obnoxious to the officers of the 
government, they have not continued there. The counselor 
values his own services, and, in general, exacts large sums. The 
attorney generally receives from the party who employs him 
more than is allowed by law. 

In cases of petty crime, the finding cf the proper court may be 
-aid to be final, and without appeal; and commonly such causes 
are decided in a summary way. In the case of more serious 
crimes, more solemnity is observed. A person skilled in the laws 
is nominated by the court to defend the accused. The trial is not 
public; but examination and depositions in writing are taken 
privately by the auditor, at any time most convenient to himself, 
and the counsel of the accused is permitted to be present. Every 
kind of privilege is granted to him in making his defense. Such 
suits are usually very tedious and expensive — when the accused is 
wealthy. If condemned, he is entitled to an appeal, as in civil 
s, provided he give security for payment of the future costs. 
There appears, however, to be a virtual appeal in every capital 
condemnation, because a stay of execution takes place until the 


confirmation of the sentence returns from Santiago dc Cuba, 
where there is a grand tribunal consisting of five judges, before 
whom counselors plead, as in our courts. Crimes of great atroc- 
ity are very rare. Murder, b}' stabbing, seems to be confined to 
the Spanish soldiers and sailors. The terror of the magistrate's 
powers restrains assaults, batteries, riots, etc. Punishments are 
usually mild. They mostly consist of imprisonment and payment 
of costs; sometimes the stocks. White men, not military, are 
rarely, perhaps never, degraded by whipping, and in no case do 
any fines go into the public treasury. Murder, arson, and ag- 
gravated robbery of the King's treasury or effects are pun- 
ished with death. Robbery of private persons, to any amount, is 
never punished with death, but by restitution, imprisonment, and, 
sometimes, enormous costs. Crimes against the King's revenue, 
such as contraband trade, are punished with hard labor for life, 
or a term of years on board the galleys, in the mines, or on the 
public works. 

Claiborne, in his proclamation to the people of Loui- 
siana, had announced that he was to exercise the powers of 
governor and intendant, and the administration of the 
province was to remain in the same state in which he 
found it, — that is to say, as it was under the Spanish 
domination. Laussat, however, by abolishing the cabildo 
and establishing a municipal body, did away with the offi- 
cers of principal, provisional, and ordinary alcaldes, and 
no judicial officers but the governor and the alcaldes de 
barrio remained in New Orleans. Claiborne, therefore, 
established on December 30, 1803, a Court of Pleas, com- 
posed of seven justices. 2 

Its civil jurisdiction was limited to cases which did not exceed 
in value three thousand dollars, with an appeal to the governor 
in cases where it exceeded five hundred. Its criminal jurisdiction 


extended to all cases in which the punishment did not exceed a 
fine of two hundred dollars and imprisonment during sixty days. 
The justices individually had summary jurisdiction of debts un- 
der the sum of one hundred dollars; but from all their judgments 
an appeal lay to the Court of Pleas. 

The Louisianians were dissatisfied at the way the new 
American Territory was governed, and their grievances 
were set forth very forcibly by a " Native," in a pamphlet 
published in 1804. He says that " Governor Claiborne 
fell, as it were, from the clouds, without the least know- 
ledge of the country, its inhabitants, their manners, their 
customs, their very language, or their laws, which he was 
enjoined to follow." 3 The Court of Pleas was organized 
after the American manner, and one may imagine " the 
embarrassment of the judges themselves, who had no idea 
of those foreign forms which they should follow and mix 
with the Spanish laws." 

The principal grievance of the Louisianians was the in- 
troduction of the English language in all public affairs 
except in the municipality, — a fact, says a " Native," 
which would make the Louisianians become " strangers on 
their native soil " and would " suddenly strike them politi- 
cally dead." ' Is not the use of our native language the 
most dear property, of which we could not be debarred 
without becoming insignificant and passive beings?" 
The Louisianians admitted that, at a future day, the Eng- 
lish language should prevail in Louisiana, but they said 
that time alone could bring about this revolution. They 
added that they had a sincere desire of fraternizing with 
their new countrymen ; and that, in spite of all their griev- 


ances, " ever faithful to the laws and government, they 
complained in respectful language and prayed for jus- 
tice." They said of Governor Claiborne that he used his 
dangerous authority with probity and moderation. 

William Charles Cole Claiborne was born in Virginia 
in 1775, and was therefore only twenty-eight years of age 
when President Jefferson appointed him governor of the 
Territory of Louisiana. He was a descendant of Wil- 
liam Claiborne, whose name appears in the early history 
of Virginia and Maryland. He was educated at Rich- 
mond Academy and at William and Mary College, but 
had to earn a living at the age of fifteen and went to New 
York to look for employment. He found a place in the 
office of John Beckley, who was then clerk of the House 
of Representatives, and worked there four years. In 
Philadelphia, whither Congress removed in 1790, Clai- 
borne acquired the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and 
of John Sevier. The latter advised him to go west and 
become a lawyer, and after three months spent in Rich- 
mond reading law, he set out for Tennessee. He was 
elected a delegate to the convention that was to frame a 
constitution for the new State of Tennessee, then he be- 
came one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Law and 
Equity, and soon afterward he was sent to Congress, to 
succeed Andrew Jackson, who had been elected to the 
Senate. In the House he voted for Jefferson for Presi- 
dent, and in 1802 he was appointed governor of Missis- 
sippi Territory. From that office he was sent to govern 
Louisiana, where he succeeded in overcoming all preju- 
dices against him and became very popular with the 


Louisianians of French origin. The reason of his success 
was, that he was laborious and thoroughly honest. 

By an act of Congress, of March 20, 1804-, Louisiana 
was divided into two parts. All that portion " south of 
the Mississippi Territory and of an east-and-west line, to 
commence on the Mississippi River, at the thirty-third de- 
gree of north latitude, and to extend west to the western 
boundary of the said cession/' was named the Territory 
of Orleans. The residue of the province was called the 
District of Louisiana, and was placed under the adminis- 
tration of the governor of the Indiana Territory and the 
jurisdiction of the judges of that Territory. 

The executive power, in the Territory of Orleans, was 
vested in a governor to be appointed by the President for 
three years. He was to be commander-in-chief of the 
militia of the Territory, to have power to grant pardons 
for offenses against the Territory, and reprieves for of- 
fenses against the United States, until the decision of the 
President was known, and to have the appointment of all 
civil and military officers, except those whose appoint- 
ments were otherwise provided for. A secretary of the 
Territory was to be appointed for four years. The legis- 
lative powers were vested in the governor and a Legisla- 
tive Council of thirteen members, to be appointed annu- 
ally by the President. The governor was to publish all 
the laws annually throughout the Territory, and to report 
them from time to time to the President, to be laid before 
Congress. If they were disapproved by Congress, they 
were thenceforth void. The governor had the right to 
convene and prorogue the Legislative Council, whenever 


he deemed it expedient. " The judicial powers were 
vested in a superior court and such inferior courts and 
justices of the peace as the Legislature of the Terri- 
tory might establish. The superior court consisted of 
three judges, one of whom constituted a court." A 
district court was also established, to consist of one 
judge. " Provision was made for the writ of habeas 
corpus, admission to bail in cases not capital, and 
against cruel or unusual punishments." 4 ' The im- 
portation of slaves from foreign countries was for- 
bidden, and that of those from the United States was 
allowed only to citizens, bona-fide owners, removing to the 

These were the principal sections of the act establishing 
the Territory of Orleans. It gave rise to animated de- 
bates in Congress. 5 Mr. Eustis of Massachusetts said 
the people of Louisiana were not prepared to enjoy the 
elective franchise ; that he considered them as standing in 
nearly the same relation to the United States "as if they 
were a conquered country." Mr. Macon, the Speaker, 
was opposed to the principle contained in the act, because 
it established a species of government unknown to the 
laws of the United States. He was in favor of giving the 
people of Louisiana the same government that was given 
to the people of the Mississippi Territory. Several other 
representatives considered the government about to be 
given the Territory of Orleans as being most despotic, 
and as being contrary to the treaty of cession. The act, 
however, was passed, and was approved March 26, 1804. 
It was to be in force October 1, 1804, and to continue one 


year and to the end of the next session of Congress that 
might he held thereafter. 

The dissatisfaction in Louisiana was very great at the 
illiberal act of Congress establishing the Territory of Or- 
leans; and that feeling brought about the resignation of 
Etienne de Bore as mayor of New Orleans. We have 
seen that on November 30, 1803, Laussat abolished the 
cabildo and established a municipal body composed of a 
mayor, a council of twelve members, and a clerk. The 
mayor and members of the first Municipal Council 
worked diligently during the twenty days of the second 
French domination, and they continued in office after the 
transfer of the province to the United States. On De- 
cember 30 the Council was reestablished with all the mem- 
bers appointed by Laussat, except Sauve and Jones, who 
had resigned. 6 On December 24 Governor Claiborne 
presided at the meeting of the Council, and the mayor 
and members took the oath of allegiance to the United 

On December 28 burial in churches was forbidden; on 
January 11, 1804, Delahogue was elected assistant secre- 
tary, and two new members, Hulings and Charles Poree, 
took their seats in the Council. On January 25 curious 
regulations were adopted about the order of dances at 
public balls, as follows: " 1. Two French contra-dances. 
2. One English contra-dance, which will be divided into 
twelve couples. 3. A waltz." 

In May, 1804, the Council consisted of the original 
meml>ers, except Hulings and Poree, who were elected in 
January, and of Carrick, Le Breton D'Orgenois, and 

1804] MAYOR BORE 15 

James Pitot. On May 16, Bore, the mayor, delivered the 
following address: 

Gentlemen : The municipal body was formed under the French 
government ; its powers are what they would be if it had remained 
under that government, Governor Claiborne having confirmed it, at 
the time of the transfer, with the same powers. It is proper, then, 
to protest against the constitution decreed by Congress on March 
26, because it annihilates the rights of the Louisianians, of whom 
we form part and of whom we are the only representative body. 
The American government, by the wisdom of its constitution, 
cannot and should not, without departing from its principles and 
its obligations, infringe our natural rights and article third of the 
treaty of cession. Until the entire colony may oppose in due 
form the act that annuls those privileges, let us anticipate that 
moment by our formal protest against a constitution that places 
us in the class of subjects of the most absolute government. Let 
us represent to the President the authenticity of our pretensions ; 
let us express ourselves as republicans united to the United States 
of America, and let the present government, however insufficient 
and unfavorable it is by its form, subsist until our fate be fixed 
in accordance with our rights and the treaty of cession. 7 

The Council's answer to the mayor was that, in its opin- 
ion, a protest should not be made, but only representa- 
tions, and that this right belonged to the generality of the 
citizens of the colony and not to the municipal body in 

On May 19, 1804, Mayor Bore announced that his per- 
sonal affairs did not allow him to share the labors of his 
colleagues, and that he had sent his resignation to Gov- 
ernor Claiborne. On May 26, Petit presided at a meeting 
of the Council, and it was decided that a letter be written 


to ex-Mayor Bore, expressing the profound sentiment of 
friendship, confidence, and gratitude of the Council, their 
regrets that he was no longer presiding officer, their best 
wishes for the happiness of the city and his own, and their 
hope that he be replaced by a citizen as wise, as constant, 
and as zealous for the public good as he. 

There is no doubt that Etienne de Bore resigned his 
office of mayor of New Orleans through his patriotic 
pride as a Louisianian, when he saw how ungenerous Con- 
gress had been in its act of March 26, 1804, establishing 
the Territory of Orleans. Bore was a man of great merit, 
and was highly esteemed in Louisiana, which he had en- 
riched by his energy in securely establishing the sugar 
industry. On June 2, 1804, James Pitot was elected 
mayor by the Council, and his election was approved by 
Governor Claiborne. 

During the Spanish domination a large quantity of 
silver was sent from Vera Cruz every year for the ex- 
penses of the government of the colony; and when this 
supply of silver ceased, distress was felt from the scarcity 
of a circulating medium. There was also a large quantity 
of 'liberanzaSj or certificates, which had not been redeemed 
by the Spaniards. To relieve the financial distress, Gov- 
ernor Claiborne established the Louisiana Bank; but the 
people, at first, had little confidence in this institution. 

The Louisianians felt such dissatisfaction with the act 
of Congress relating to Louisiana that a meeting of mer- 
chants and planters was held in New Orleans on June 1, 
and it was determined to petition Congress to repeal that 
part of the act concerning the division of the Territory 


and the restrictions on the importation of slaves. A re- 
quest was also to be made for the immediate admission of 
Louisiana into the Union. A committee composed of 
Jones, Edward Livingston, Pitot, and Petit was ap- 
pointed to prepare a draft of the petition to Congress, to 
be submitted at another meeting. The report of the com- 
mittee, presented at a public meeting in the beginning of 
July, was approved, and a committee of twelve was 
chosen to circulate the petition or memorial among the in- 
habitants for their signatures, and to solicit contributions 
to defray the expenses of a delegation to be sent to Wash- 
ington to lay the memorial before Congress. The com- 
mittee of twelve was also to suggest the names of six 
individuals, out of whom three would be chosen as dele- 
gates of the people. The last public meeting was held on 
July 18, 1804, and three commissioners were chosen, — 
Pierre Sauve, Pierre Derbigny, and Jean Noel Destre- 
han. s On July 4 there had been a patriotic celebration 
of the Declaration of Independence, and Pierre Derbigny 
had delivered a fine address. 

On October 1, 1804, the act of Congress went into ef- 
fect, and the following officers were appointed by Presi- 
dent Jefferson: Claiborne, governor; Brown, secretary; 
Bellechasse, Bore, Cantrelle, Clark, De Buys, Dow, 
Jones, Kenner, Morgan, Poydras, Roman, Watkins, 
members of the Legislative Council; Duponceau, Kirby, 
and Prevost, judges of the Superior Court; Hall, district 
judge of the United States; Mahlon Dickens, district 
attorney; and Le Breton D'Orgenois, marshal. 

Prevost was a stepson of Aaron Burr; he opened his 


court alone, as Kirby had died and Duponceau had not ac- 
cepted the appointment of the President. Bore, Belle- 
ehasse, Jones, and Clark had been among the most active 
in organizing the public meetings that had decided to send 
a memorial to Congress to protest against the establish- 
ment of the new government. As they could not there- 
fore consistently serve as members of the Legislative 
Council, they declined to accept seats in that body. The 
other members were not zealous in attending meetings, 
and, as a quorum could not be obtained, Claiborne took 
advantage of the fact that blank commissions had been 
sent to him, as the first names of the persons appointed 
were not known in Washington. He therefore filled four 
commissions with the names of Dorciere, Flood, Mather, 
and Pollock, and barely obtained a quorum of the Legis- 
lative Council on December 4, 1804. 

On September 26, 1804, Claiborne lost his wife and 
their infant, and " many thousands," says the " Louisiana 
Gazette," " attended her interment, and business of 
almost every kind was suspended." This misfortune ren- 
dered pathetic Claiborne's address to the people when he 
was sworn into office on October 2 by James Pitot, Mayor 
of New Orleans. 

Fellow-Citizens : The President of the United States having 
been pleased to appoint me governor of that part of Louisiana 
which is constituted the Territory of Orleans, I have attended in 
tlii^ Hall to take in your presence the oaths of office required 
by law. In this additional and distinguished proof of confidence 
from the Chief Magistrate of our common country, I find the 
strongest inducements to merit by my conduct a continuance of 


his approbation ; to deserve yours also, fellow-citizens, is my sincere 
desire, and shall be the fondest object of my cares. All the 
felicity which a recent domestic calamity has left for me to seek 
or enjoy, is in contributing to the happiness of those over whom 
I am called upon to preside. The importance of the trust com- 
mitted, and the high responsibility attached thereto, are forcibly 
impressed upon my mind, and have excited the most anxious solici- 
tude. On entering, however, upon my arduous duties, I anticipate 
with pleasure the principal aid which I shall receive from the j udi- 
cial and legislative authorities, and the kind indulgence and sup- 
port which a generous people always extend to the honest ap- 
peals of a public officer. Past events, fellow-citizens, guarantee 
the fulfilment of these expectations. In the course of my late ad- 
ministration, which, from a variety of circumstances, was accom- 
panied with peculiar difficulties, I received from the officers, civil 
and military, a zealous and able cooperation in all measures for 
the public good, and from the people in general an indulgence 
and support, which encouraged harmony and insured the su- 
premacy of the law. I am now ready to take the oaths of office 
required. And I pray Almighty God to visit with his favor the 
magistrates and legislators of this Territory ; to enable them to 
preserve to her citizens and their posterity the blessings of peace, 
liberty, law, and thus to soften those evils which a wise Providence 
has annexed in this world to the condition of man. 9 

When the Legislative Council met on December 4, 
1804, Governor Claiborne addressed to them a message 
which we reproduce in part, as it is the first message of 
a governor of American Louisiana. 

Fellow-Citizens of the Legislative Council: Receive my 
sincere congratulations on your present assemblage, and permit 
me to accompany an acknowledgment of the pleasure I feel on 
the occasion with an expression of my anxious solicitude for the 


honor and usefulness of your labors. When I revert to the impor- 
tant events that produced our present political connection, I look 
forward to the pleasing prospects of permanent aggrandizement. 
When I reflect upon our union with the freest people upon earth, 
and our dependence upon that just government under whose 
auspices a young nation has so soon become powerful, and, amidst 
an unexampled advancement of agriculture and extension of com- 
merce, enjoyed liberty, laws, and uninterrupted peace, the satis- 
faction with which I contemplate the future destinies of this Terri- 
tory is equaled only by my admiration of the wisdom and virtue 
which have diffused such political blessings, and promise (under 
the favor of Heaven) their perpetuity. 10 

Claiborne then calls attention to the important and ar- 
duous trust committed to the Council. The first object, 
he says, should be a system of jurisprudence suited to the 
interests and habits of the citizens, and the governor rec- 
ommends an energetic system of criminal jurisprudence. 
' It is not the severity, but the celerity and certainty of 
punishment, that repress crimes." He requests attention 
to the interest, convenience, and comfort of New Orleans. 

The city has great claims on your most affectionate patronage. 
The real interest of the merchant and planter is the same ; and he 
is no friend to either who would wish to divide them. Let exer- 
tions be made to rear up our children in the paths of science and 
virtue, and to impress upon their tender hearts a love of civil 
and religious liberty. Every constitutional encouragement should 
be given to ministers of the gospel. Religion exalts a nation, 
while sin is the reproach of any people. It prepares us for those 
vicissitudes which so often checker human life. It deprives even 
misfortune of her victory. It invites to harmony and good will 
in this world, and affords a guarantee for happiness hereafter. 


Everything dear to a free people may be considered as insecure, 
unless they are prepared to resist aggression. Let me advise a 
prudent economy. Extravagance in a government leads inevit- 
ably to embarrassments. Liberality, but not profuseness, econ- 
omy, but not parsimony, should be your guide. 

Although the Legislative Council was in session, and 
Louisiana had become a Territory of the United States, 
there was still an impression among some of the inhabi- 
tants that the country west of the Mississippi, and per- 
haps the whole of Louisiana, would be re-ceded to Spain. 
This opinion was encouraged by Casa Calvo and by 
Folch, Governor of West Florida. In order, probably, 
to counteract any such impression, Claiborne caused to be 
celebrated with great splendor, on December 20, 1804, the 
anniversary of the transfer of Louisiana to the United 
States. There was firing of cannon, then a military pa- 
rade, and the governor gave a collation to which he invited 
Casa Calvo and Folch and some of the principal inhabi- 
tants. The day ended with a ball. 

The first session of the Legislative Council lasted from 
December 2, 1804, to May 1, 1805. 11 The president of 
the Council was Julien Poydras, author of the earliest 
poem in the literature of Louisiana. The principal acts 
of the Council were as follows : : 2 To incorporate a Ma- 
rine Insurance Company in the city of New Orleans. 
This was the New Orleans Insurance Company, which 
was in existence until 1895, and of which the last presi- 
dent was Jules Tuyes, a highly cultured gentleman of 
the old regime. For dividing the Territory of Orleans 
into coimties, and establishing courts of inferior jurisdic- 


tion. The Territory was divided into twelve counties: 


Orleans, German Coast, Acadia, La Fourche, Iberville, 
Pointe Coupee, Attakapas, Opelousas, Natchitoches, Ra- 
pides, Ouachita, and Concordia. The county of Orleans 
comprised " all that portion of country lying on both sides 
of the river Mississippi from the Balize to the beginning 
of the parish of St. Charles, including the parishes of St. 
Bernard and St. Louis." The county of German Coast 
comprised " the parishes of St. Charles and St. John the 
Baptist, commonly called the first and second German 
Coasts." The county of Acadia comprised " the parishes 
of St. James and the Ascension, commonly called the first 
and second Acadian Coasts." The other counties were all 
minutely described, and for each county a judge was to 
be appointed, who should be a justice of the peace, and as 
many other justices of the peace as the governor should 
appoint. An act to institute a university in the Territory 
of Orleans was approved April 19, 1805. The preamble 
of this act is very interesting : 

Whereas, the independence, happiness, and grandeur of every 
republic depend, under the influence of Divine Providence, upon 
the wisdom, virtue, talents, and energy of its citizens and rulers ; 
and whereas science, literature, and the liberal arts contribute, in an 
eminent degree, to improve those qualities and acquirements ; and 
whereas, learning hath ever been found the ablest advocate of 
rational religion, and the source of the only solid and imperish- 
able glory which nations can acquire ; and forasmuch as literature 
and philosophy furnish the most useful and pleasing occupations, 
improving and varying the enjoyments of prosperity, affording 
relief under the pressure of misfortune, and hope and consola- 
tion in the hour of death; and considering that in a common- 


wealth, whose humblest citizen may be elected to the highest public 
office, the knowledge which is requisite for a magistrate should be 
widely diffused, — 

It was therefore enacted that a university be established 
to be entitled " The University of Orleans." The gov- 
ernor, the judges of the Superior Court, the judge of the 
court of the United States for the district of Orleans, the 
mayor and recorder of New Orleans, and the president 
of the Legislative Council were ex-officio regents, and the 
following persons were appointed regents: The Rev. 
Patrick Walsh, Paul Lanusse, Joseph Faurie, Peter Der- 
bigny, Lewis Kerr, Joseph Saul, Dr. Fortin, Dr. Robelot, 
Dr. Montegut, Dr. Le Due, Dr. Dow, James Brown, 
Edward Livingston, James Workman, Evan Jones, 
Bore, and Destrehan. The regents were to establish as 
soon as possible a college to be named " The College of 
New Orleans," and were to appoint a president and four 
professors, one professor for the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages, logic and ancient history; one professor for the 
English, French, and Spanish languages, rhetoric and 
modern history ; one professor for mathematics and natu- 
ral philosophy; and one professor for moral philosophy 
and the law of nature and nations. The faculty was au- 
thorized to grant such degrees as are usually conferred in 
other colleges in Europe and America. In each county 
one or more public schools were to be established, and as 
many schools as the regents might judge fit for the in- 
struction of girls, as " the prosperity of every state 
depends greatly on the education of the female sex, inso- 
much that the dignity of their condition is the strongest 


characteristic which distinguishes civilized from savage 

The members of the Legislative Council had excellent 
intentions with regard to public schools; but as they did 
not provide any fund for their establishment, the plan 
failed. The " College of New Orleans," however, was es- 
tablished later. A sum, not exceeding fifty thousand dol- 
lars, was to be raised annually by two lotteries, — a rather 
uncertain and precarious fund. 

An act was passed to incorporate a Library Society in 
New Orleans, and one to incorporate the city of New Or- 
leans, approved February 17, 1805. The boundaries pre- 
scribed for the city gave it a large area. The officers were 
a mayor and a recorder, to be appointed by the governor 
for one year, fourteen aldermen to be elected by the free- 
holders owning real estate worth at least five hundred dol- 
lars, or renting a household tenement of the yearly value 
of one hundred dollars. Two aldermen were to be elected 
from each ward, and the fourteen aldermen formed the 
City Council, of which the recorder was ex-officio presi- 
dent. The Council was to appoint a treasurer and the 
necessary subordinate officers. 

The Legislative Council held a second session on June 
20, 180.5, and adjourned early in July. It passed acts for 
improving the inland navigation of the Territory of Or- 
leans, to establish a Court of Probate, and to incorporate 
a congregation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
city of New Orleans. Among the vestrymen of Christ 
Church were Edward Livingston, John Watkins, J. B. 
Prevost, and Evan Jones. 


On July 5, 1805, the regents of the University of Or- 
leans met, and elected Governor Claiborne chancellor and 
Mayor Pitot vice-chancellor. It was determined to raise 
by a lottery a sum not exceeding twenty thousand dollars. 

On March 6, 1805, a meeting of the Council was held, 
at which were present : Mayor Pitot, Petit, Carrick, For- 
tier, Faurie, Livaudais, Donaldson, Merieult, and Gurley. 
The mayor announced that the aldermen elected were: 
1st district, F. Arnaud and J. Carrick; 2d district, J. 
Faurie and F. Duplessis; 3d district, Colonel Bellechasse 
and Guy Dreux ; 4th district, P. Bretonniere and A. Ar- 
gotte; 5th district, Thos. Harman and P. Lavergne; 6th 
district, J. B. Macarty and F. J. Dorville; 7th district, 
Thomas Poree and F. M. Guerin. On March 11 the new 
City Council was installed. Governor Claiborne went at 
noon to the City Hall, accompanied by civil and military 
authorities and by several prominent citizens. He pro- 
claimed James Pitot mayor and John Watkins recorder ; 
and all the new officials took the oath of office, except 
Colonel Bellechasse, who was absent. From the first 
meeting of the City Council in November, 1803, to May 
25, 1805, the minutes of the very numerous meetings were 
signed by all the members of the Council. On May 25, 
1805, only Watkins, the recorder or president, and Bour- 
geois, the secretary, signed the minutes. 

On July 30, 1805, Mayor Pitot resigned his office, and 
Dr. John Watkins was appointed mayor by the governor, 
and Colonel Bellechasse recorder. 

After the adjournment, in July, 1805, of the second 
session of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Or- 


leans, Governor Claiborne appointed Julien Poydras 
judge of the county of Pointe Coupee. 

On May 1, 1805, when the Legislative Council was pro- 
rogued by Governor Claiborne, Poydras delivered an ad- 
dress, in which he said : 

How delicious is the fruit of the tree of liberty, to those who 
can taste its sweets without having had the trouble of rearing 
the plant, or of watering it with the sweat of their blood ! — without 
having been obliged to pass anxious nights and tedious days in 
laboring at its delicate and precarious culture! What care must 
be taken, what precautions used, to keep at a distance all that 
might check or prevent its growth ; and now dexterously to re- 
move, now forcibly to tear from it, those destructive vines which, 
like devouring parasites, closely twining themselves round its 
trunk, penetrate the earth even to its roots. 13 

He spoke of the arduous work of the Council, said they 
did all that was in their power to do, and added that their 
successors would be happier than they, as they would en- 
joy the confidence of the people by whom they would have 
been elected. The censures that the members of the 
Council have received have not given them any pain, for 
they felt like " that Greek who, aspiring to a certain mag- 
istracy, and finding himself excluded by the selection of 
three hundred from among his fellow-citizens, hurried to 
the temple and returned thanks to the gods that his coun- 
try contained three hundred citizens of greater merit than 

To give an idea of customs and manners in New Or- 
leans at the beginning of the American domination, we 


quote here some extracts from the diary of John F. Wat- 
son, who arrived in New Orleans on May 26, 1804. ] 


All the houses are different from any that I have ever seen be- 
fore, in their style of architecture and fabric; such quantities of 
shipping, too, are surprising. The streets are more alive with 
population, and there is an outdoor activity of business, that 
even now surpasses Philadelphia, from which I have come. The 
chief of the houses are of brick and plastered over smoothly with 
white mortar; few of them are above one story, unless they are 
public edifices ; all are more decorated with ornamental work than 
any I have before seen. One-story houses, however, have their 
ground floor part so high as to make good storehouses. Almost 
all of them have galleries around them. 

November J/., 1804- — The birthday of the King of Spain is 
celebrated with considerable pomp by the Spanish officers still 
here. The Governor, Folch, of Pensacola, and suite, being here, 
they all go in procession to mass. Our Governor, Claiborne, with 
his suite, joins therein. They all dine at the Marquis de Casa 
Calvo's ; a military band plays during the time of the enter- 

Ladies in this country never visit strangers first. All expect 
to be visited by the ladies newly arrived. Our ladies will not yield 
to this seemingly awkward position, and therefore they pass with- 
out native society. Gentlemen cannot visit young ladies often 
unless they declare themselves as intended suitors. There is no 
copper coin in circulation; one can't buy anything for less than 
a six-cent piece, called a picayune. 

We made our first parlor fire on the ninth of November. At this 
time oranges began to be sold perfectly ripe. 

The first part of January, three or four flatboats arrived from 
Charleston on the Ohio ; were twelve weeks to three months in 
coming. They had taken out half their cargoes to get over the 
falls. By their early arrival they sell their flour at twelve and a 
half dollars. 


Masquerades have ceased here since eight or nine years past, 
but slier ri-varries 15 are still practised. The}' consist in mobbing 
the house of a widow when she marries; and the}' claim a public 
donation as a gift. When Madame Don Andre 16 was married 
she had to compromise by giving to the out-door mass three thou- 
sand dollars in solid coin ! On such occasions the mob are 
ludicrously disguised. In her case there were effigies of her late 
and present husbands in the exhibition, drawn in a cart: there 
her former husband lies in a coffin, and the widow is represented 
by a living person, who sits near it. The house is mobbed by the 
people of the town, vociferating and shouting with loud acclaim ; 
hundreds are seen on horseback ; many in disguise dresses and 
masks ; and all have some kind of discordant and noisy music, such 
as old kettles, and shovels and tongs, and clanging metals can 
strike out. Everybody looks waggish, merry, and pleased. Very 
genteel men can be recognized in such a melee. All civil authority 
and rule seems laid aside. This affair, as an extreme case, lasted 
three entire days, and brought in crowds from the country. It 
was made extreme because the second husband was an unpopular 
man, of humble name, and she was supposed to have done un- 
worthily. Their resistance to yield any homage to the mob caused 
the exaction, and the whole sum was honorably given to the 
orphans of the place. (At a later period Edward Livingston, 
Esq., was sherri-rarried here; on which occasion the parties came 
out promptly to the balcony and thanked the populace for their 
attention, and invited them to walk into the courtyard and par- 
take of some of their prepared cheer. The compliment was re- 
ceived with acclamation and good wishes for many years of hap- 
piness, and the throng dispersed, none of the genteel partaking 
of any refreshment.) When a sherri-varrie is announced, it is 
done by running cry through the streets, as we cry Fire ! fire ! and 
then every man runs abroad, carrying along with him any kind 
of clanging instrument, or any kind of grotesque mask or dress. 
All this comes from an indisposition to allow two chances for hus- 
bands, in a society where so few single ladies find even one husband. 


The carnival commenced the 5th January, 1805 ; an occasion 
of great processions and entertainments. From the 10th to the 
13th of April is the Holy Week. The scourging of Christ, his 
crucifixion and ascension, etc., are severally celebrated in the sev- 
eral days. On Thursday, all the Catholics visit the several churches 
to kiss the feet of Jesus (le bon dieu). He appears sitting, 
bruised, grievous, and crowned with thorns. Some kissed with 
great devotion, and remained long on their knees. The lower class, 
the negroes, mulattoes, etc., sit and kneel in the aisles on the 
pavements, etc. Mothers bring their infants ; some cry and oc- 
casion other disturbances ; some are seen counting their beads with 
much attention, and remain long on their knees ; some are running 
over their " Ave Marias " ; others of less devotion are seen whis- 
pering, and smiling, and careless. On Monday (the day of 
Ascension) the priests, with the host and an altar, issue from the 
cathedral and go round the Place d'armes in solemn procession, 
chanting, crossing, and smoking frankincense. As the host is held 
on high, the people fall down and worship in the street ; all walk 
uncovered. Each side of the pass is decorated with green boughs. 
The ladies, too, threw flowers from their balconies upon the altar 
as it was borne along below them. 

The ladies are beautiful in person, gestures, and action ; all are 
brunettes; few are blue-eyed or light-haired; none have color in 
their cheeks, but none look unhealthy. Young ladies do not dare 
to ride out or appear abroad with young gentlemen ; but ladies 
frequently ride abroad in a chair (volante), managing the horse 
themselves. Their volante carriages are very ugly. Often they 
drive mules, and sometimes horses and mules are driven three or 
four abreast. They usually drive in gallops; no trotting is seen. 
Ladies all dress their own hair without curls or ornaments. Girls 
are never forward or garrulous in conversation ; they are all re- 
tired and modest in their deportment, and very mild and amiable. 
I have never seen a presumptuous, talkative rattlecup or hoyden 
here. The ladies appear seldom abroad before the evening; then 
they sit at their doors or walk on the levee. 


Two miles back from the town is a place called the Bayou (the 
creek), which is the head of a creek coming from the lake. There 
is there a good collection of houses and a place of public entertain- 
ment called the Tivoli (a new affair), at which is a ball once a 
week. Parties descend the creek to the lake to fish and bathe. 
There the water is salt. Crossing the lake is a pleasing and com- 
mon excursion ; it looks and feels much like going to sea. Many 
vessels come from Pensacola and other places into this Bayou St. 

Houses in New Orleans have a pretty appearance and display 
much taste. They have no trees to shade them; fig and orange 
trees are too low and small for shade. People generally live up- 
stairs in the large houses, and rent the place of entrance, window 
lights, and everything; many houses have no glass lights. 

The goods here are drawn in carts with very high wheels, 
which are never tired nor the axles ironed. They make much 
squeaking, and were so formerly ordered by the Spanish govern- 
ment to prevent smuggling. 

There are still here man} 7 Spanish officers ; they are not genteel 
in their appearance, or well clad ; indeed, they seem to have no 
military taste. There is one, a captain, who is said to be much 
like Washington, and because he has been told of it he takes 
care to keep his uniform, etc. When they go to church they all 
assemble at the Marquis de Casa-Calvo's, and go thence in pro- 
cession. The Marquis has his own guard regularly on duty at 
his door. In passing the American guard at the town-house, next 
the church, it is put under arms, and they and the drums salute 
the Spanish officers. The same attention is paid by our guard 
when the host passes a funeral, with this difference, that in the 
latter case the guard ranges without arms and with their hats 
or caps off and in hand. 

None of the streets have pavements ; and after a rain the black, 
loamy, greasy state of the earth might make it easy enough of 
sleighing! It is wholly alluvial, without grit or stones. On such 
occasions we all walk on the long line of single logs, set at the 


line of the footway as the water-sewer. There is some fun in 
contending for this single walk in wet days. 

Few persons swim in the Mississippi. Grown people bathe at 
home; children bathe themselves back of the town, in the flat 
ditches. Alligators occupy the river and scare men off. 

Vegetables are very cheap and plenty. Few persons milk cows, 
although cattle are plenty and cheap. Horses here are very small 
and spirited; they live chiefly on corn-blades, brought every day 
to market in bundles for six cents. 

Shrimps are much eaten here ; also a dish called gumbo. This 
last is made of every eatable substance, and especially of those 
shrimps which can be caught at any time, at the riverside, by a 
small net. Cheap food and quickly had ! 

All the water drunk and used for washing is brought from the 
river. It costs eighteen and three fourths cents for drawing a 
hogshead ; the water underground is only useful in cleaning floors, 
etc. The levee was formerly shaded with willow and orange trees. 
There are now but few of them left. 

The French, Spanish, and Americans here keep very separate 
society. The Americans congregate much together, and the 
French, except in business, keep much aloof; but I enter into 
society freely among them, and find them very friendly and 

The most of the ornamental part of female attire is made by 
themselves, always very neat and tasteful. They have a con- 
spicuous hair jewel, or breast or waist buckle of gold, or rich 
beads, ornaments which last for life. They at no time wear caps, 
turbans, or bonnets. No bonnets are ever seen, even in the streets. 
They cover their hair with a graceful veil. 

The following curious advertisement is the only one re- 
ferring to art, if it may be called so, to be found in the 
" Louisiana Gazette " from July 31, 1804, to October 21, 


Physionomitrace for taking profile likenesses. — I. Hopkins has 
the honor of informing the Ladies and Gentlemen of this city that 
he will cut four complete likenesses for four bits, and will attend 
at any person's house, if sent for at his lodgings in Bienville 
Street, No. 7. As he has practised this employment with great 
applause, he hopes to be able to give general satisfaction to all 
who may please to favor him with their custom. 

The miniature-painters whom we saw in New Orleans 
in 1802 and 1803 must have been ruined in 1805 by their 
formidable rival, the artist in physionomitrace. 


The Territory of Orleans 

Memorial of the inhabitants of Louisiana presented to Congress— A new 
form of government for the Territory of Orleans— Claiborne again ap- 
pointed governor— The first representatives elected by the people- 
Patriotism of the new Americans— Dissolution of the Legislative Council 
— Motives of discontent of the members— Claiborne's judicious reply — 
Insurrection in New Feliciana against Spain— Dispute about the frontier 
line — Conciliatory policy of Jefferson — Wilkinson goes to Sabine River — 
Aaron Burr's plot — Wilkinson's arbitrary measures in New Orleans — Later 
career of the conspirators— Foundation of Donaldson ville— Acts of the 
Legislature — About education — Apprentices and indentured servants — 
Slaves— Free people of color— the Black Code— The Civil Code— Pike's 

N his fourth annual message to Con- 
gress, November 8, 1804, President 
Jefferson referred to the Territory 
of Orleans and said: " The form of 
government thus provided having 
been considered but as temporary, 
and open to such future improve- 
ments as further information of the circumstances of our 
brethren there might suggest, it will of course be subject 
to your consideration." On November 12, in the House 
of Representatives, it was resolved that this part of the 
President's message be referred to a select committee, 
and on December 3 Joseph H. Nicholson of Mary- 
land presented to the House a memorial from the inhabi- 



tants of Louisiana, said to have been signed by two thou- 
sand heads of families. " They labored under an idea 
that their morals, manners, and customs had been misun- 
derstood, and consequently complained of, and that the 
law of last session was passed by Congress under those 
mistaken impressions." They prayed to be allowed to 
be their own legislators, that the Territory be not divided, 
and that importation of slaves be not prohibited. The 
memorial was referred to the same committee on Loui- 
siana government just mentioned, and on January 25, 
1805, John Randolph of Virginia made a report, which 
in the main was favorable to the requests of the inhabi- 
tants of Louisiana. The report declared that the griev- 
ances felt by the memorialists were based chiefly on their 
interpretation of the third article of the treaty of cession, 
concerning the incorporation* of the Territory into the 
Union; "but," continued Randolph, "because the me- 
morialists may have appreciated too highly the rights 
which have been secured to them by the treaty of cession, 
the claims of the people of Louisiana on the wisdom and 
justice of Congress ought not (in the opinion of your 
committee) to be thereby prejudiced." The committee 
then submitted a resolution for extending to the inhabi- 
tants of Louisiana the right of self-government. 

The memorial to Congress had been written by Ed- 
ward Livingston, and it was carried to Washington and 
introduced by Pierre Derbigny, Pierre Sauve, and Jean 
Noel Destrehan. These gentlemen displayed ability in 
performing their difficult tasks, and in a communication 
to the committee of the House they pleaded with skill 


and courage the cause of the Louisianians. The subject 
was taken up in the Senate also, and an act was passed 
and approved March 2, 1805, further providing for the 
government of the Territory of Orleans, as follows: 
The President was authorized to establish a government 
similar in all respects to that of the Mississippi Territory, 
in conformity with the act of Congress of 1787. The 
Legislature was composed of a House of Representa- 
tives of twenty-five members elected for two years, and 
a Legislative Council of five members appointed by the 
President out of ten individuals nominated by the House 
of Representatives. The period of service of the mem- 
bers of the Legislative Council was five years. The gov- 
ernor, secretary, and judges of the Superior Court were 
to be appointed by the President, with the advice and 
consent of the Senate — the governor for three years, the 
secretary for four, and the judges during good behavior. 
The inhabitants were authorized to form a State govern- 
ment and were to be admitted into the Union, upon the 
footing of the original States, as soon as the Territory 
should have sixty thousand free inhabitants. " The peo- 
ple of Louisiana," says Judge Martin, " complained that 
in this form, as in the preceding, their lives and property 
were in some degree at the disposal of a single individual, 
from whose decision there was no appeal; the law de- 
claring any one of the judges of the Superior Court a 
quorum." 1 

The President appointed Claiborne governor, Graham 
secretary, and Prevost, Sprigg, and Matthews judges 
of the Superior Court. 


On November 4, 1805, seventeen representatives met 
at the City Hall. Governor Claiborne delivered an ad- 
dress, and Destrehan was elected Speaker of the House. 
The first representatives elected by the people of Louisi- 
ana were: Orleans: J. B. Macarty, Hazeur de l'Orme, 
Dominique Bouligny, John Watkins, James Carrick, 
Robert Avart, Bore. German Coast: Destrehan, Andry. 
Iberville : Joseph Le Blanc, Felix Renaud. Acadia : Jo- 
seph Landry, William Conway. Lafourche: N. Verret, 
H. S. Thibodaux. Pointe Coupee: Ebenezer Cooley, 
S. Croizet. Opelousas: Louis Fonteneau, Luke Collins. 
Attakapas: Sorrel, Duralde. Natchitoches: E. Prud- 
homme. Concordia: Samuel S. Mahon. Ouachita: 
Abraham Morehouse (resigned on November 8). 

The following were the persons nominated by the 
House, from whom the President was to choose the Legis- 
lative Council: Bellechasse, Gurley, Macarty, Derbigny, 
Destrehan, Sauve, Bouligny, Villere, Evan Jones, and 
D'Ennemours. The President selected Bellechasse, Des- 
trehan, Macarty, Sauve, and Jones. 

On February 22, 1806, Washington's birthday was 
celebrated with great pomp. " The old and new Ameri- 
cans vied with each other in the discharge of their duty 
on the parade, — all, animated by the same spirit, per- 
formed every evolution with wonderful celerity and cor- 
rectness." The Battalion of Orleans was reviewed by 
Governor Williams, of Mississippi Territory ; and the day 
closed with a brilliant ball. The people of the Territory 
and the members of the Legislature took advantage of 
every opportunity to express their sentiments of patriot- 


ism as American citizens. At the meeting of the Legis- 
ture in March, 1806, Claiborne's message was answered 
very appropriately by the Legislative Council through 
Destrehan, its president, and by the House through John 
Watkins, its Speaker. This era of good feeling, how- 
ever, was not of long duration, for on May 26, 1806, the 
Legislative Council adopted the following resolution: 

Whereas, the most essential and salutary measures adopted by 
this Legislature have been successively rejected by the Governor 
of the Territory; and whereas this Legislature, the members of 
which had been induced to accept their appointments only by the 
hope of being useful to their fellow-citizens, must now be con- 
vinced that they can do nothing but cause them a considerable ex- 
pense: Resolved, that the General Assembly be immediately 

The members of the Legislative Council gave a long 
explanation of their motives and said : 

In this situation of things, the Legislative Council had a right 
to think it would be wise to terminate an expensive and useless 
session. The executive power has doubtless an absolute veto with 
respect to the particular constitution to be applied to this Terri- 
tory ; but if by means of this veto his will and only his will, is to 
be our supreme law, let him reign alone and without disguise. 
The Legislative Council should not consent to serve as a rattle 
to amuse the people. 

May 28, 1806. Signed: P. Sauve, President Legislative Coun- 
cil, J. B. Macarty, J. D. Bellechasse. 

The following members of the House of Representa- 
tives were of the same opinion as the Legislative Council : 


J. Etienne Bore, D. Bouligny, J. Arnaud, M. Andry, 
F. Bernard, J. Sorrel, Prudhomme, Isaac Hebert, Ha- 
zeur de l'Orme, Joseph Landry. 

The president of the Legislative Council and the 
Speaker of the House waited on the governor to inform 
him of the intention to adjourn, and Claiborne replied 
very frankly to their communication: 

I have no objection to offer to the proposed adjournment. Will 
you be good enough to express to your respective houses my fond 
hopes that the laws which have been enacted may conduce to the 
prosperity of the Territory, and to assure them that, as far as 
may depend on my cooperation, nothing shall be wanting to carry 
them into effect. It ought not to be a matter of surprise that a 
difference in opinion should sometimes have arisen among the sev- 
eral branches of the Legislature ; while men are left free to think 
and act for themselves, an unison in sentiments cannot always be 
expected; nor ought it to be supposed that in a government like 
ours, composed of departments, and each independent of the other, 
the same political course should meet the sanction of all. If, 
therefore, on some occasions, the executive did not approve the 
proceedings of the two houses, all that can with truth be said is, 
that our object was the same, but we differed as to the means of 
promoting the general welfare. A Territorial Governor, if faith- 
ful to himself and his country, can alone be influenced by the 
purest motives of honest patriotism, and in exercising the powers 
with which he is intrusted his own judgment is his only guide. 

This reply of Claiborne proves his sincerity and 
courage, and appears to have produced a certain effect 
on the members of the House, who " departed apparently 
with harmony." 2 The patriotic spirit of the inhabitants 
was not diminished by the disagreement between the 


governor and the Legislature, for the Fourth of July was 
celebrated in 1806 with great enthusiasm. There was a 
salute from Fort Charles at sunrise and at noon. Sev- 
eral " splendid and jovial dinners " were given; a play, 
" Washington, or the Liberty of the New World," was 
performed to a crowded audience at the theater, and there 
was a " handsome ball " at the City Hall. The battalion 
of New Orleans Volunteers was to have been reviewed in 
the morning, according to some " very handsome " gen- 
eral orders of the commander-in-chief. The volunteers 
were expected to " repair with pride and pleasure to the 
field of exercise," but when the day came the commander 
himself did not repair there to review them. The bat- 
talion, however, was paraded on the square by Major 
Dubourg. A high mass and a Te Deum were sung both 
at the convent and at the cathedral, notwithstanding a 
dissension that had arisen between their respective clergy. 
" His Excellency the Governor, always unwilling to give 
offense to any party, politely held a candle at both cere- 
monies." The Orleans Rangers gave a banquet at Bayou 
St. John. 

A few of the toasts of the Volunteers were as follows : 
" The wooden walls of Old England. John Randolph 
— a speedy reformation to him, if politically wrong. 
May the flood never finish its rise till it drowns all the 
enemies of America. May the Eagle of Liberty fly over 
the heads of slavery and pick off crowned heads." 

Although the United States claimed West Florida 
as far as the Perdido River, by the treaty of cession of 
the province of Louisiana, Spain still remained in pos- 


session of the Baton Rouge district. The inhabitants 
of the district, known then as New Feliciana, 3 to the 
number of about twelve hundred, w r ere principally de- 
scendants of the British colonists, or immigrants from 
the United States. They were very much disappointed 
at remaining under Spanish domination, and in 1805 
about two hundred men endeavored to excite an insur- 
rection against Spain. They did not succeed in the un- 
dertaking, and the leaders of the movement had to seek a 
refuge on American soil. Among the leaders were the 
three Kemper brothers, who resided at Pinckneyville in 
the Mississippi Territory. They were arrested at night, 
on September 23, 1805, by armed men in disguise, taken 
beyond the American frontier, and delivered by order of 
Grandpre, Governor of Baton Rouge, to some Spanish 
troops. Fortunately, as they were being conveyed down 
the river, the whole party was discovered and captured at 
Pointe Coupee by Lieutenant Wilson, of the American 
army. The question of the eastern boundary of Louisiana 
remained unsettled, although James Monroe had been 
sent to Spain to open a negotiation about the Floridas. 

The frontier line on the west between Louisiana and 
the Spanish possessions was also a subject of dispute. 
The Spaniards claimed the country west of Natchitoches, 
and in the beginning of 1806 troops were sent to the town 
of Adaes, fourteen miles west of Natchitoches, to estab- 
lish a post there, and a considerable force under Don An- 
tonio Cordero, Governor of Texas, advanced from Trin- 
ity River to the town of Nacogdoches. On January 24, 
1806, Major Porter, commandant of the post at Natchi- 


toches, sent word to the commander at Nacogdoches that 
he would protect the American citizens in the Territory 
of Orleans as far as Sabine River. The Spanish com- 
mander replied that it was not intended to encroach on 
American territory, but that he would patrol the country 
as far as the Arroyo Hondo, seven miles west of Natchi- 
toches, which he considered the provisional boundary be- 
tween the American and the Spanish possessions, as it had 
been the conventional boundary between the French and 
the Spanish possessions until 1762. He also assured the 
people on the Bayou Pierre, about twenty miles from 
Natchitoches, that the Red River would soon be the 
boundary between the Spanish provinces and Louisiana. 
Major Porter thereupon caused the Spanish garrison at 
Adaes to be removed beyond Sabine River. 

Jefferson had been very conciliatory with regard to the 
Floridas and to the western boundary. 4 " Why," says 
Monette, " press the final adjustment of the western 
boundary so long before the American population were 
ready to take actual possession? ' In a message to Con- 
gress, President Jefferson said: " On the Mobile our com- 
merce passing through that river continues to be ob- 
structed by arbitrary duties and vexatious searches. 
Propositions for adjusting amicably the boundaries of 
Louisiana have not been acceded to. While, however, the 
right is unsettled, we have avoided any change in the state 
of things by taking new posts, or strengthening ourselves 
on the disputed territories, in the hope that the other 
power would not, by a contrary course of conduct, oblige 
us to meet the example and endanger conflicts of au- 


thority, the issue of which may not be easily controlled. 
But in this hope we have now reason to lose our con- 

Hostilities were indeed on the point of breaking out 
on the western frontier, and General Wilkinson was or- 
dered to repel any invasion of the Territory of Orleans. 
That invasion, according to the Americans, had already 
taken place, as General Herrera, with twelve hundred 
men, had taken a position on the Bayou Pierre settle- 

In the mean time Governor Claiborne had been active 
and had sent a portion of the militia to reinforce the gar- 
rison at Natchitoches. Regular troops had also gone 
there, and General Wilkinson had put New Orleans in 
a state of defense and concentrated a considerable force 
in that city and at Fort Adams. 

General Wilkinson arrived at Natchitoches on Sep- 
tember 24, 1806, and demanded the withdrawal of the 
Spanish troops beyond Sabine River. General Herrera, 
on the approach of the American army, had withdrawn 
from Bayou Pierre. General Wilkinson marched to 
Sabine River and established his headquarters on the left 
bank. The Spaniards were on the other bank, and both 
armies held their positions until November 6, 1806, when 
an agreement was made between the American and Span- 
ish commanders that their forces should be withdrawn, 
and the settlement of the boundary question would be 
referred to their respective governments. " This is the 
first time," says Monette, " that the Sabine was ever con- 
sidered as a limit of the Mexican province on the east." 


Wilkinson had succeeded in his expedition, of which the 
object was the withdrawal of the Spanish troops from the 
limits of the Territory of Orleans. " Yet," adds Mo- 
nette, " his troops retired indignantly from the Sabine, 
many of them fully convinced that they had been robbed 
of their anticipated laurels by the cupidity of their com- 
mander, who had entered into dishonorable negotiations, 
and that money, and not the sword, had terminated the 
campaign." 5 

The trouble with Spain about the western frontier 
seemed to be settled by General Wilkinson's expedition. 
The whole matter of the Spaniards in Louisiana had 
given Claiborne great annoyance and even anxiety. The 
Spanish troops, who were to leave the province within 
three months, had lingered in New Orleans long after the 
time specified. Our old acquaintance, Intendant Mo- 
rales, had made numerous grants and sales of land in 
West Florida, and the Marquis de Casa Calvo had de- 
parted from New Orleans only on October 15, 1805. On 
January 1, 1806, he had returned from Texas to Loui- 
siana and had stopped at Natchitoches, where Major 
Porter had received him with courtesy, but had refused 
him admission into the fort. Finally, on January 25, 
1806, Claiborne wrote to Morales: " I esteem it a duty to 
remind you that the departure from the Territory of 
yourself and the gentlemen attached to your department 
will be expected in the course of the present month." 
Morales was thus virtually expelled, and on February 1 
he went to Pensacola. On February 4, 1806, Casa Calvo 
arrived at New Orleans, and he also was asked to with- 


draw from the Territory with his officers on or before 
February 15. Claiborne sent him a passport, February 
12, with his best wishes for the health and happiness of 
the " nobleman whose presence had become so unaccept- 
able." Casa Calvo departed on the day fixed by Clai- 
borne, but full of wrath and indignation. The Spanish 
marquis was a pleasant man, and his personal relations 
with Laussat and Claiborne had been courteous and 

While at Natchitoches in October, 1806, General Wil- 
kinson had received the visit of a secret emissary of Aaron 
Burr, who had come to ascertain what were the feelings of 
the general with regard to Burr's projects. Burr was a 
man of great ability and energy, and was elected Vice- 
President of the United States in 1801, after coming 
very near defeating Jefferson for the Presidency. He 
killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in July, 1804, be- 
came very unpopular in the North, and conceived the plan 
of organizing a great confederacy in the valley of the 
Mississippi, with himself for chief. Wilkinson intro- 
duced him to several Western men, and to Derbigny, and 
he was advised by them to begin again his political career, 
some said in the West, and Derbigny suggested in the 
Territory of Orleans. After passing through the West, 
and meeting Blennerhassett and his wife on their island 
in the Ohio, Burr was received with admiration by An- 
drew Jackson at Nashville, stayed four days with Wil- 
kinson at Fort Massac, and arrived at New Orleans on 
June 26, 1805. 

Wilkinson " had fitted out for him an elegant barge, 

1806] AARON BURR 45 

sails, colors, and ten oars, with a sergeant and ten able, 
faithful hands," 8 and had written to Daniel Clark that 
" that great and honorable man would communicate to 
him many things improper to letter, and which he would 
not say to any other." Burr was received " with polite 
attention," wrote Claiborne to Madison, and remained 
in the city ten or twelve days. He then went to St. Louis, 
where he found Wilkinson greatly cooled. The general 
had received no encouragement from his officers, whom he 
had sounded on the subject of Burr's plans, and had 
grown despondent. Therefore in October, 1806, at Nat- 
chitoches, he had given evasive answers to Burr's emissary, 
Swartwout. In the mean time the plot had been matur- 
ing, and Blennerhassett entered heart and soul into it, 
as did many other men all over the country. Boats were 
building, and the Bastrop claim on Ouachita River in the 
Orleans Territory, three hundred and fifty thousand 
acres, was bought by Burr, as if he were merely at the 
head of a great land company. In vain had Daviess, 
United States District Attorney at Frankfort, Kentucky, 
informed Jefferson that the old Spanish conspiracy of 
1787 was being revived: the President had done nothing 
except sending Graham, Secretary of Orleans Territory, 
to the West to observe the movements of Burr. Daviess 
had had him tried at Frankfort in November and De- 
cember, 1806, but twice Burr had appeared before a jury, 
with Henry Clay as his counsel, and had been trium- 
phantly acquitted. It was his former ally, Wilkinson, 
who finally denounced the plot to the President, on Oc- 
tober 8, 1806. Wilkinson had received a letter from 


Burr, in which his plan was fully explained. " Having 
passed the night in deciphering the letter and reflecting 
on it," says McM aster, " Wilkinson in the morning again 
took that dark and crooked course he so well loved. 
Drawing aside the colonel who commanded the troops, he 
read the letter, and declared he would send word of the 
plot to Jefferson and move the soldiers to New Orleans. 
Yet he did not write for twelve days. He well knew that 
the purpose of the expedition was to secure the indepen- 
dence of Orleans, and that Burr was in command. Yet 
in the letter he assured Jefferson that the expedition was 
against Vera Cruz, and that he did not know who were the 
leaders, nor what were their intentions regarding Or- 
leans. He knew that the expedition was planned to 
leave Kentucky on November 15. Yet he sent no word 
to Fort Adams, nor to the authorities of Kentucky or 
Tennessee." On receiving Wilkinson's despatches, Jef- 
ferson issued a proclamation, November 27, 1806, in 
which no mention was made of Burr, but notice was given 
of an illegal conspiracy against Spain. " Orders were 
despatched to every interesting point on the Ohio and 
Mississippi, from Pittsburg to New Orleans, for the em- 
ployment of such force, either of the regulars or the mi- 
litia, and of such proceedings also of the civil authorities, 
as might enable them to seize on all the boats and stores 
provided for the enterprise, to arrest the persons con- 
cerned, and to suppress effectually the further progress 
of the enterprise." 7 

Although the expedition was declared by the President 
to be against the dominions of Spain, the representative 

1806] AARON BURR 47 

of that country in the United States was without any ap- 
prehension, as he had been informed of the real purpose 
of Burr, which was said to be the liberation of the West- 
ern States. Whatever was the plot, it was destined to 
fail. Graham, Jefferson's confidential agent, applied to 
the Governor of Ohio, and the latter seized the boats and 
provisions at Marietta. Blennerhassett and about thirty 
of his associates escaped on December 10 and met Burr 
at the mouth of the Cumberland River. The whole party, 
to the number of one hundred men, went down the Ohio, 
passed by Fort Massac, and proceeded on their way to- 
ward New Orleans. At Bayou Pierre, in Mississippi 
Territory, Burr landed, on January 10, 1807, and saw 
published, in the " Moniteur de la Louisiane," his letter 
to Wilkinson. He was greatly alarmed, and retired to 
the other bank of the river. There he was induced to sur- 
render on January 17, and was taken for trial to Wash- 
ington, the capital of Mississippi Territory. He was 
released on bail, fled from the Territory, and was finally 
arrested on February 19, 1807, at Wakefield, Alabama. 
After being detained three weeks at Fort Stoddart, he 
was sent to Richmond, Virginia, where he was acquitted 
after a most dramatic trial before Chief Justice Marshall. 
After Wilkinson had received Burr's letter at Natchi- 
toches in October, 1806, and had written to Jefferson 
to inform him of the plot, he was fired by an intense zeal 
to save New Orleans from the conspirators. He reached 
the city on November 25, 1806, and took active measures 
for its protection. On December 9 a meeting of the prin- 
cipal inhabitants was held, and Wilkinson and Claiborne 


informed them of the dangers that threatened the city. 
An embargo was laid on the ships in the river, so that 
their crews might be employed on American vessels. 
Claiborne placed the militia under Wilkinson's orders, 
and the general acted in the most arbitrary manner. He 
caused the arrest in New Orleans of Dr. Erich Bollman, 
and at Fort Adams of Samuel Swartwout and Peter 
Ogden, and refused to obey the writs of habeas corpus 
of the Superior Court of Orleans. He sent Bollman and 
Swartwout in merchant vessels out of the Territory, and 
rearrested Ogden after he had been released by the court. 
Judge Workman applied to Claiborne, who, instead of 
supporting him, attempted to have the writ of habeas 
corpus suspended by the Legislature. Workman then 
resigned his office. He had written to Claiborne a dig- 
nified letter in which, says Martin, he said " that, if cer- 
tain of the governor's support, the judge should forth- 
with punish, as the law directs, the contempt offered to 
his court; on the other hand, should the governor not 
think it practicable or proper to afford his aid, the court 
and its officers would no longer remain exposed to the 
contempt or insults of a man whom they were unable to 
punish or resist." Judge Workman was himself ar- 
rested by order of Wilkinson, but was liberated the next 
day on a writ of habeas corpus from the District Court 
of the United States. General Adair, of Kentucky, was 
also arrested in New Orleans by Wilkinson and shipped 
away north. Several other persons shared his fate. 

The later career of the conspirators was generally 
very unsuccessful. " Of the men who went down the 


Mississippi with Burr," says McMaster, " few ever came 
back. The rest wandered over the Mississippi Territory, 
and, it is said, supplied the people for years to come with 
traveling doctors, small politicians, teachers of music, and, 
what was needed vastly more, teachers of schools. To the 
last, Wilkinson continued to pose as an honest man, was 
protected and honored by Jefferson, was thanked by the 
Legislature of Georgia for betraying Burr, was acquitted 
by a packed court of inquiry, and has left behind him, 
in justification of his life and deeds, three ponderous vol- 
umes of memoirs as false as any yet written by man." s 
In the year 1806, during which took place Burr's en- 
terprise, Daniel Clark, Wilkinson's enemy and accuser, 
was elected delegate to Congress for the Territory of 
Orleans. It took then thirteen days and seven hours for 
mail to arrive from Washington to New Orleans via 
Fort Stoddart. _* 


In 1806 William Donaldson founLsd the town of Don- 
aldsonville at the mouth of Bayou Lafourche. 9 

In the first session of the first Legislature of the Ter- 
ritory of Orleans, begun on January 25, 1806, John Wat- 
kins was Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 
Jean Noel Destrehan was president of the Legislative 
Council until May 22, 1806, and Pierre Sauve from that 
date to June 7, 1806. 10 

The sheriff of each county was ordered to call an as- 
sembly of the fathers of families, who should elect five 
commissioners, whose duty was to adopt a plan for es- 
tablishing public free schools at the expense of the county, 
and to report said plan to the Legislature, through the 


representatives of the count} 7 , at the beginning of the 
next session. The regents of the University of Orleans 
should make a like report for the county of Orleans. An 
act for establishing the age of majority at twenty-one 
years instead of twenty-five was passed. Also an act 
for allowing compensation to the members of the Legis- 
lature and to the officers of both houses. Each member 
of the Legislative Council and each member of the 
House of Representatives was entitled to receive four 
dollars for every day he attended, and six dollars for 
every twenty miles of the estimated distance from his 
place of residence to and from the seat of the Legislature. 
The secretary of the Legislative Council, who was also 
translator to the Council, and the clerk of the House of 
Representatives, who was interpreter and translator to 
the House, received each a salary of two thousand dol- 

Every innkeeper was required to set up a sign with his 
name, and also a fair table of rates, to be certified gratis 
every six months by a judge or justice of the peace. A 
penalty of twenty dollars was imposed for selling liquors 
to an Indian, or to a slave without permission of the mas- 
ter, or to a soldier without permission of one of his officers. 

With regard to apprentices and indentured servants, 
several regulations were made, giving the form of inden- 
tures, stating the duties of masters and servants, and 
ordering that apprentices or bound servants absconding 
should be subject to serve two days for every one that 
they were absent, or pay damages. Where there were 
schools, the apprentices or bound servants were to be 


taught to read and write and the elements of arith- 

No person holding any office of profit under the terri- 
tory of the United States, except in the militia service 
and the office of justice of the peace, should be a member 
of the Legislature. 

Persons encouraging slaves to insurrection should suf- 
fer death. Persons transporting slaves out of the Ter- 
ritory, without consent of the owners, should be fined 
in a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars and not less 
than one thousand dollars. 

No free men of color from Hispaniola were to be ad- 
mitted into the Territory. Every man or woman of 
color from Hispaniola then residing in the Territory, 
pretending to be free, must prove the fact before the 
mayor of a city or a justice of the peace; otherwise the 
said man or woman would be considered a fugitive slave 
and employed at the public works. 

The Black Code was the most important act passed at 
the first session of the Legislature. It was somewhat like 
the code of the French domination, but more humane in 
its regulations. 

James Brown and Moreau Lislet were employed to 
prepare a civil code, and were to receive each as compen- 
sation eight hundred dollars a year for five years. The 
second session of the first Legislature of the Territory 
of Orleans was begun on January 12, 1807, and con- 
tinued until April 14. John Watkins was Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, and Julien Poydras was 
president of the Legislative Council. Among the acts 


passed were the following: To fix the number of mem- 
bers of the House of Representatives at twenty-five; to 
abolish the county court and establish in each parish a 
court of which the judge should be ex-officio judge of 
probate and act as clerk, sheriff, and notary; to divide the 
Territory into nineteen parishes; to authorize and direct 
the directors of the lottery established for school purposes 
to reimburse the moneys paid by the persons who had 
taken tickets in said lottery ; to pay two thousand dollars 
to each of the two jurisconsults appointed to prepare a 
civil code, in full compensation for their services. 

On July 1, 1807, Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike arrived 
at Natchitoches from his exploring expedition to the 
West. He had gone as far as the Rocky Mountains, and 
had been arrested in his progress by the Spaniards. He 
had been accompanied by Lieutenant Wilkinson, son of 
the general. By the middle of the nineteenth century the 
territory of the United States was to extend from the 
Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The acquisition of Loui- 
siana in 1803 had rendered possible the extension of the 
United States beyond the Rocky Mountains. 


Preparing for Statehood 

Edward Livingston and the Batture -Digest of the civil laws - Immigrants 
from Santo Domingo leave Cuba for New Orleans - Great mortality among 
the troops in Louisiana -Patriotic letter of the City Council to President 
Madison— Revolution in West Florida— A convention called— Preamble 
to a plan of a constitution— Capture of the Baton Rouge fort -Declaration 
of independence of West Florida— Claiborne ordered to take possession 
of West Florida -Debates in the Senate- Speech of Henry Clay— Census 
of 1810— Speeches of Josiah Quincy and of Poindexter in the House-Bill 
admitting the Territory as a State— Revolt of slaves in 1811— Constitu- 
tional Convention of 1811— Louisiana admitted into the Union in 1812— 
Arrival of the first steamboat— The first officials of the State. 

ARDLY had the excitement subsided 
in New Orleans after the Burr inci- 
dent when the city was again thrown 
into confusion in 1807 by the Batture 
affair. The property of the Jesuits 
in Louisiana had been seized in 1763 
and sold for the benefit of the Crown 
of France, as the Spaniards had not yet taken possession 
of the colony. That part of the plantation of the Jesuits 
in the vicinity of the city passed by regular conveyance to 
Bertrand Gravier, by whom it was cultivated as a farm. 
Parts of that farm were laid out into lots, which formed 
later the suburb St. Mary. An alluvial land or batture 
had been forming for some time in front of Gravier's 



farm and of the suburb St. Mary, but, as it was not con- 
siderable, the land was unimproved and the inhabitants of 
New Orleans were allowed to take sand and earth from it. 
On his arrival in the city in 1804, says Edward Living- 
ston, 1 the batture in front of the suburb had become an 
object of consequence and promised to be extremely valu- 
able. The proprietor at that time, John Gravier, opposed 
the claim of the city corporation that the inhabitants had 
the right to use the land as f ormerlj r . The Superior Court 
of the Territory rendered a judgment in favor of John 
Gravier, declaring that the tract of land of Bertrand 
Gravier was bounded by the Mississippi, and that he had 
sold the lots fronting and adjoining the highway. As the 
alluvion had already existed at the time of the latter sale, 
the court decided that Bertrand Gravier had not divested 
himself of his title to the batture, and that his heir, John 
Gravier, was the lawful owner of it. Livingston says 
that after the decision he purchased from Mr. Gravier, 
from the heirs of M. Delabigarre, and from Mr. Girod a 
portion of this land, for about eighty thousand dollars, 
and paid a considerable sum on the purchase. As soon as 
the court had rendered its judgment the popular resent- 
ment became very great, and, says Livingston, " the peo- 
ple were taught to look to a foreign power for the justice 
which it was said was denied them by their country." To 
prove this statement, Livingston quotes the following cu- 
rious extract from the " Telegraphe ": 

Should there be no other remedy, if it can be proved that the 
batture belonged to the city previously to the cession, I have no 
doubt but that the minister of His Imperial and Royal Majesty 


will think it his duty to lay the affair before the Emperor, if his 
general instructions do not authorize the minister's immediate ap- 
plication to the American Government in behalf of the Loui- 
sianians. It is well known that Napoleon will think himself bound 
in justice and honor to see that the treaty of cession be not vio- 
lated. The Emperor of the French did not cede his subjects to 
be devoured by the harpies of chicane. That Alexander knows 
how to cut the Gordian knot of iniquity. 

Livingston endeavored to make improvements on the 
land, but the citizens, whom he calls a mob, drove off his 
workmen, and assembled every day to prevent the use of 
the property by him. The governor was absent from the 
city, and when he returned on September 1, 1807, Liv- 
ingston applied to him for protection, and the City Coun- 
cil requested him to prosecute the claim of the United 
States to the batture. On September 15 matters came to 
a crisis. At noon about a dozen white laborers were put to 
work on the batture. Immediately several hundred citi- 
zens assembled, roused by the beating of a drum, and Clai- 
borne, having been informed of the disturbance, went to 
the spot and addressed the crowd. Colonel Macarty and 
Colonel Bellechasse and other men spoke in favor of the 
rights of the people, and the citizens retired after decid- 
ing to send Colonel Macarty as their agent to lay their 
grievances before the President of the United States. 
Livingston complains that Claiborne, in his address to the 
people, expressed an opinion that the judgment of the 
Superior Court was not conclusive. But as Livingston 
was of a different opinion, he set one hundred and fifty 
men at work on the batture and had spent thirteen thou- 


sand dollars on improvements by January 24, 1808, when 
he received the intelligence that the President had ordered 
the marshal of the United States to take possession of the 
property. He says he obtained from the court an in- 
junction restraining the marshal, but that the latter went 
to the government house, and three regiments of militia 
were ordered to parade in the streets to help the marshal. 
Several hundred persons drove off the laborers from the 
works, and when the river rose everything was swept away 
bv the current. 

Livingston was not discouraged by these events, and 
went to see Jefferson to obtain justice from him. The 
latter sent a message to Congress, March 7, 1808, about 
the batture, and submitted to them the settlement of the 
title. Nothing was done by Congress, and on his return 
to New Orleans Livingston found persons carrying off 
earth from the batture. He protested, but Mr. Grymes, 
the district attorney, said: " I am willing that the citizens 
shall continue to use the alluvion or batture, fronting the 
suburb St. Mary, as they have hitherto done, until the 
President of the United States shall forbid them." In 
consequence of this permission, says Livingston, damage 
to the extent of forty thousand dollars was done, and he 
adds very pithily: " If this is really a demesne of the 
United States, what can justify the deterioration of it to 
that amount? Not the President's intention of bestowing 
it on the city, for that yet wants the sanction of Congress, 
nor can I think that they will give away five hundred 
thousand dollars to provide the city of New Orleans 
with mud, while they with difficulty appropriate a 


quarter of the sum to the defense of their most important 

Livingston instituted a suit against Jefferson after the 
latter had retired from the Presidency, and in an answer 
to the ex-President he uses the following pungent words : 

Mr. Jefferson did not like playing at push-pin, as he elegantly 
terms it ; the forms of law were too slow to satisfy his eager desire 
to do justice. There had been a commotion about the people, there 
had been an open opposition to the execution of the laws ; and he 
seems to have had a natural sympathy for those who were guilty 
of it. Profaning the sacred exertions of our own Revolutionary 
patriots by an assimilation with his own agency in the paltry 
squabble, his imagination took fire at a striking similarity he dis- 
covered between the judgment in the case of the batture and the 
Massachusetts Port bill, between the opening of my canal and the 
" occlusion " of the Boston harbor — he pants for the wreaths of 
Hancock, Adams, and Otis — and he bravely determines to hurl all 
the vengeance of the Government at the unprotected head of an 
humble individual, who had nothing for his defence but the feeble 
barriers of Constitution, Treaty, and Laws. 2 

This affair gave rise to prolonged litigation. 

In March, 1808, Claiborne, at the request of the City 
Council, caused Fort St. Louis, in New Orleans, to be de- 
molished. The trenches surrounding it were thought to 
engender disease. 

On March 31 the Legislature adjourned; it had met in 
January. Moreau Lislet and Brown had reported their 
" Digest of the civil laws now in force in the Territory of 
Orleans, with alterations and amendments adapted to the 
present form of government." " Although the Napoleon 


code," says Judge Martin, " was promulgated in 1804, 
no copy of it had as yet reached New Orleans: and the 
gentlemen availed themselves of the project of that work, 
the arrangement of which they adopted, and, mutatis 
mutandis, literally transcribed a considerable portion of 
it. Their conduct was certainly praiseworthy; for, 
though the project is necessarily much more imperfect 
than the code, it was far superior to anything that any 
two individuals could have produced early enough to an- 
swer the expectation of those who employed them. The 
Fuero Viego, Fuero Juezgo, Partidas, Recopilaciones, 
Leyes de las Indias, Autos Accordados, and Royal 
Schedules remained parts of the written law of the Terri- 
tory, when not repealed expressly or by a necessary im- 
plication. Of these musty laws the copies were extremely 
rare ; a complete collection of them was in the hands of no 
one, and of very many of them not a single copy existed 
in the province. To explain them Spanish commentators 
were consulted, and the corpus juris civilis and its own 
commentators were resorted to; and to eke out any defi- 
ciency, the lawyers who came from France or Hispaniola 
read Pothier, D Aguesseau, Dumoulin, etc." 

" Courts of justice were furnished with interpreters of 
the French, Spanish, and English languages ; these trans- 
lated the evidence and the charge of the court, when neces- 
sary, but not the arguments of the counsel. The case 
was often opened in the English language, and then the 
jurymen that did not understand the counsel had leave to 
withdraw from the box into the gallery. The defense 
being in French, they were recalled, and the indulgence 

1808] SYSTEM OF LAWS 59 

shown to them was enjoyed by their companions who were 
strangers to that language. All went together into the 
jury-room, each contending the argument he had listened 
to was conclusive, and they finally agreed on a verdict in 
the best manner they could." 

The Digest prepared by Brown and Moreau Lislet was 
known as the " Old Code." As it required amendment 
after a few years, a committee was appointed to revise it. 
This consisted of Edward Livingston, Pierre Derbigny, 
and Moreau Lislet. " The ' Old Code ' revised and re- 
modeled, called the ' Civil Code of Louisiana,' went into 
operation in 1825. Its last article repeals all former laws 
for which it provided, and an act of 1828 abolished the 
Roman, French, and Spanish laws previously in existence, 
and also ' all the articles contained in the old Civil Code, 
and all the provisions of the same which are not reprinted 
in the new Civil Code, except Chapter 3rd, title 10th.' " 
" But the Supreme Court has decided that the Legisla- 
ture in abolishing the French and Spanish laws, pre- 
viously in existence, ' did not intend to abrogate those 
principles of law which had been established or settled by 
the decisions of courts of justice.' " Mr. Leovy, from 
whom we have quoted this information, says very 
prettily : 3 

Our laws are a texture composed of the best materials from both 
the English Common and the Roman Civil Law. Other States 
and other nations have contented themselves with adopting, with- 
out change or modification, either the one or the other of these 
systems. Our plan is the interweaving of the two, the mingling 
of both as the colors mingle in the rainbow, and so imperceptibly 


that like the verge of the horizon and sea, none but the most 
experienced eyes can discern the distinctive line between them. 

In 1809 the relations between the United States and 
Great Britain were such that war between the two coun- 
tries seemed probable. Governor Claiborne sent a patri- 
otic message to the Legislature, and received the follow- 
ing reply: " Tell the Federal Government that the 
Louisianians, proud to belong to the great family, are 
ready to vie in zeal, in efforts, and in sacrifices for the de- 
fense of their country." These were not idle words, as 
was proved a few years later by the gallant behavior of 
the Louisianians when they united their efforts with those 
of men from other parts of the country to repel a foreign 

The Legislature elected Julien Poydras a delegate to 
Congress, to succeed Daniel Clark. It adopted also a 
memorial to Congress to ask for admission of the Terri- 
tory into the Union. Claiborne was not of opinion that 
the time had yet come for such a step, and said so in a 
letter to the Secretary of State. 

The invasion of Spain by Napoleon produced an unex- 
pected effect on Louisiana in 1809. At the time of the 
revolt of the negroes in Santo Domingo a considerable 
number of the white inhabitants had gone to Cuba, with 
some slaves, and free persons of color had also accom- 
panied them. The irritation against the French in Cuba 
on account of Napoleon's treatment of the Spanish royal 
family was such that the immigrants from Santo Do- 
mingo found life unbearable in Cuba. It was natural that 

1809] IMMIGRANTS 61 

they should look to Louisiana for a refuge. The popula- 
tion of New Orleans was principally of French origin, 
and the hospitality of the Creoles was well known. A 
large number of immigrants arrived in the city be- 
tween the 19th of May and the 18th of July, 1809: 
fifty-seven hundred and ninety-seven individuals, of 
whom eighteen hundred and twenty-eight were white, 
nineteen hundred and seventy-eight free blacks or colored 
persons, and nineteen hundred and ninety-one slaves. 
There was opposition to the immigrants from a portion 
of the population, the native Americans, and the governor 
felt embarrassed, in his application of the laws, about ad- 
mitting slave and free colored persons in the Territory. 
Considering the unfortunate circumstances of the refu- 
gees, the laws were not strictly enforced, and they were 
permitted to reside in the Territory. 

General Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the Ameri- 
can army, who had been acquitted in June, 1808, by a 
court of inquiry, arrived in New Orleans in April, 1809. 
He found in the city about two thousand men, and looked 
for a favorable spot for an encampment. He chose an 
elevated piece of ground at Terre-aux-Boeufs, and in 
May sent his troops there. Disease spread among them, 
and in June he received orders to remove to the highlands 
near Fort Adams and Natchez. It took some time to 
procure boats, and the troops began their journey up the 
river on September 15. Their progress lasted forty-seven 
days; during which, out of nine hundred and thirty-five 
men who embarked, six hundred and thirty-eight were 
sick and two hundred and fortv died. Out of fewer than 


two thousand men, seven hundred and sixty-four died and 
one hundred and thirty-six deserted. This appalling loss 
of life among the troops excited such a clamor against 
General Wilkinson that he was called to the seat of gov- 
ernment, and General Wade Hampton was sent to su- 
persede him. 

The following letter shows what were the sentiments of 
the City Council of New Orleans in 1809: 4 

To his Excellency James Madison, President of the United States. 
Sir : With all that respect and esteem, which long and faithful 
public services are calculated to inspire, the City Council of New 
Orleans beg leave to approach you, and to tender their congratula- 
tions on your elevation to the Presidency of the United States. 
Under the guidance of your illustrious predecessor, we have seen 
our Government conducted in safety, in times the most perilous; 
and our country in the enjoyment of peace and plenty, while the 
other nations of the earth, by the tyranny or weakness of their 
rulers, have experienced the scourge of war, with all its concomi- 
tant calamities. As one of the principal agents in that policy 
we so much admire, we recognize the able statesman whom we now 
have the honor to address, and his past conduct furnishes a guar- 
antee that the interests of our common country could not have 
been committed to an abler or a more virtuous citizen. We should 
be wanting in gratitude were we not here to acknowledge the high 
degree of prosperity which the Territory of Orleans, and this 
city in particular, has attained, since our connection with the 
United States. In population, agriculture, commerce, and the 
mechanical arts, the increase and the improvement have been im- 
mense ; nor are we at any loss for the cause. We owe it, Sir, to 
the influence of a free Government, founded in wisdom, and ad- 
ministered by great and good men. Under these impressions, Sir, 
the City Council of New Orleans pray Almighty God to per- 


petuate the American Union and that happy constitution which is 
the pride and the boast of every faithful citizen. 

That your valuable life may be preserved for the service of a 
grateful country is our ardent wish. 

We have the honor to be very respectfully, Sir, 
Your most obedient humble servants, 
Charles Trudeau, President. 
M. Bourgeois, Clerk of the City Council. 
Approved at New Orleans, June 10, 1809. 
James Mather, Mayor. 

President Madison answered as follows: 

To the City Council of New Orleans : I have received, fel- 
low-citizens, your act of June 10th with the sensibility due to the 
kindness of its expressions towards me personally, and with all the 
gratification which the just and patriotic view it takes of the 
public welfare ought to inspire. The peace and plenty which 
have distinguished our country, and the convulsions and calamities 
forming the general character of the times, and under the per- 
plexities resulting from our own affairs, claim for the policy 
which has preserved those blessings the approbation you bestow 
on it. Such marks of attachment to the solid interest of our 
country, and of confidence in the public councils, are the more to 
be valued as the trials imposed on us by foreign injustice have 
not yet ceased; and as it is among those who are most averse to 
war whilst it can be honorably avoided, that we are, at all times, 
to look for the most unyielding support of the national rights, 
when peace can no longer be preserved. I behold with the utmost 
satisfaction the advantages which the Territory and city of New 
Orleans have reaped from their incorporation with the United 
States ; and especially that you are so fully sensible of the degree 
in which they are the fruits of our free system of government, ad- 
ministered in the spirit which belongs to it. The Nation into 
whose bosom you have been received, must always rejoice at your 


prosperity, because it at once indicates and promotes the general 
prosperity. Never was a connection more distinctly pointed out 
by Nature herself ; nor can the reciprocal benefits of it ever cease, 
whilst the laudable and enlightened sentiments which you proclaim 
shall continue to pervade the great body of our fellow-citizens. 

I tender you my sincere respects and my best wishes. 

James Madison. 

July 23, 1809. 

We have seen that the people of West Florida had been 
disappointed at remaining under the Spanish domination 
after the cession of Louisiana to the United States in 
1803. An attempt had been made in 1805 to throw off 
the Spanish yoke, but had failed. In 1810 a revolution 
broke out in West Florida, which resulted in the annexa- 
tion of that province to the United States. 

The Governor-General of the Floridas, Vincente 
Folch, resided at Pensacola, and the Governor of West 
Florida, Charles Dehault de Lassus, had his headquarters 
at Baton Rouge. The revolutionary spirit in the Spanish 
colonies in America, excited bv the overthrow of the 
Bourbons by Xapoleon, was felt first in West Florida by 
the people of New Feliciana. They wished a change in 
the form of government, and issued a call for a conven- 
tion. They elected delegates, and the other districts did 
the same. De Lassus gave his consent to the call for a 
convention, in spite of the advice of his young lieutenant, 
Louis de Grandpre, son of Colonel Carlos de Grandpre, 
the former Governor of Natchez and Baton Rouge, who 
had died in 1809. 5 The convention met on July 17, 1810, 
at Buhler's Plains. The president was John Mills, and 

1810] WEST FLORIDA 65 

the secretary Dr. Steele. They deliberated two days, 
adopted a preamble and a series of articles or plan of a 
constitution, and appointed a committee to prepare an 
address to the governor. The preamble is an interesting 
document : 

When the sovereignty or independence of a nation has been 
destroyed by treachery or violence, the political ties which united 
its different members are destroyed. Distant provinces, no longer 
cherished or protected by the mother country, have a right to in- 
stitute for themselves such forms of government as they think 
conducive to their safety and happiness. The lawful sovereign 
of Spain, together with his hereditary kingdom in Europe, hav- 
ing fallen under the dominion of a foreign tyrant by means of 
treachery and lawless power, right naturally devolves upon the 
people of the different provinces of that kingdom, placed by 
nature beyond the grasp of the usurper, to provide for their own 
security. The allegiance which they owed and preserved with so 
much fidelity to their lawful sovereign can never be transferred 
to the destroyer of their country's independence. 

We, therefore, the people of West Florida, exercising the rights 
which incontestably devolve upon us, declare that we owe no alle- 
giance to the present ruler of the French nation, or to any king, 
prince, or sovereign, who may be placed by him on the throne of 
Spain; and we will always, and by all means in our power, resist 
any tyrannical usurpation over us of whatever kind, or by whom- 
soever the same may be attempted; and in order more effectually 
to preserve the domestic tranquillity and to secure for ourselves 
the blessings of peace and the impartial administration of justice 
we propose the following. 

The convention at Buhler's Plains adjourned to meet at 
Baton Rouge on August 22, 1810. The president of the 
latter convention was John Rhea, and there were members 


from the districts of New Feliciana, St. Helena, Baton 
Rouge, and St. Ferdinand. The sessions lasted from 
August 22 to August 25, and several reforms were rec- 
ommended, and officers were appointed to command the 
militia and administer justice. Governor de Lassus ap- 
proved all the suggestions; but on September 20, 1810, 
Colonel Philemon Thomas, commanding the militia, dis- 
covered that De Lassus had sent messages to Governor 
Folch at Pensacola asking him for help to quell an insur- 
rection against the Spanish authorities. On September 
24 Colonel Thomas called to a secret council at Baton 
Rouge John Rhea and some of the most important men 
in the province, and it was decided by the convention to 
declare the independence of West Florida and to capture 
the fort at Baton Rouge. The following report of Colo- 
nel Thomas gives an account of his expedition against the 
fort : 6 

Headquarters, Fort of Baton Rouge, 

September 24, 1810. 
To John Rhea, President of Convention of West Florida. 

Sir : In obedience to the order of the Convention, bearing date 
the 22nd inst., I directed Major Johnston to assemble such of 
the cavalry as might be ready at hand, and march immediately 
for the fort at Baton Rouge. I then proceeded to Springfield, 
where I found forty-four of the grenadier company, commanded 
by Colonel Bollinger, awaiting orders of the Convention. At one 
o'clock in the morning of the 23rd we joined Major Johnston and 
Captain Griffith with twenty-one of the Bayou Sara cavalry, and 
five or six other patriotic gentlemen joined us in our march. At 
four o'clock the same morning we made the attack. My orders 
were, not to fire till we received a shot from the garrison, and to 

1810] WEST FLORIDA 67 

cry out in French and in English : " Ground your arms, and you 
will not be hurt." This order was strictly attended to by the 
volunteers till we received a discharge of musketry from the 
guard-house, where the governor was, which was briskly returned 
by the volunteers. We received no damage on our part. Of the 
governor's troops, Lieutenant Louis de Grandpre was mortally 
wounded; Lieutenant J. B. Metzinger, commandant of artillery, 
was also wounded, one private killed and four badly wounded. 
We took twenty prisoners, among whom is Colonel de Lassus. 
The rest of the garrison escaped by flight. The magazines, 
stores, etc., found in the garrison, have been reported to you by 
James Nelson, Esq., who was appointed for that purpose. The 
various and complicated duties devolving on me from present cir- 
cumstances of the moment forbid a more minute detail. The firm- 
ness and moderation of the volunteers who made the attack was 
fully equal to that of the best disciplined troops. Whole com- 
panies are daily flocking to our standard, and the harmony and 
patriotism prevailing in the garrison must be highly gratifying to 
every friend of his country. 

Accept, Sir, for yourself and your body, assurances of my 
highest esteem. 

Philemon Thomas, 

Commander of Fort of Baton Rouge and Dependencies? 

The capture of the fort is said by some writers to have 
been no honor to the victors, and the death of Grandpre is 
called by them a murder. McMaster, in his " History of 
the People of the United States," says: " Grandpre re- 
fusing to surrender, the Americans stormed the works, 
and, finding him standing, sword in hand, the solitary de- 
fender of his flag, they basely cut him down at the foot 
of the staff." Colonel Thomas relates the story very dif- 
ferently in his report to the convention, and he was too 


brave and honorable a man for us not to believe his state- 
ment of facts. He was illiterate, but was gifted with 
excellent judgment. The epitaph on his tombstone in the 
National Cemetery at Baton Rouge is as follows: 

To the memory of General Philemon Thomas, who was born 
in Orange County, Virginia, February 9, 1763, and died in Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana, November 18, 1847. This tablet is erected by 
his children. He was soldier of '76 and '14, and member of the 
convention that framed the constitution of Kentucky, and a mem- 
ber of her Legislature. He moved to Louisiana in 1806. Com- 
manded the forces which captured the Spanish fort at Baton 
Rouge in 1810. Served many years in the Legislature of Loui- 
siana; was twice elected to the Congress of the United States. 
Throughout his career he was called a patriot and a good citizen. 
We know him to be a kind father and a firm Christian. Sic tibi 
sit terra levis. 

The death of Louis de Grandpre at the fort of Baton 
Rouge was deeply regretted. The convention did homage 
to his memory, and a French poet wrote a tribute that 
ended thus : 

In the midst of the regrets given to your memory, 
One cannot help envying your death. 
Model of honor, you will live in history 
Between Jumonville and d'Assas. 7 

Grandpre was only twenty-three years old, and a romantic 
love-story is connected with his death. 

As soon as the convention heard of the capture of the 
fort at Baton Rouge a declaration of independence was 
proclaimed. 8 It was dated September 26, 1810, and was 

1810] WEST FLORIDA 69 

signed by John Rhea, president of the convention, and 
Andrew Steele, secretary. It declares that they remained 
faithful to their King as long as there was a shadow of 
legitimate authority to be exercised over them; that they 
were betrayed by their governor and exposed to all the 
evils of a state of anarchy ; and that it became their duty 
to provide for their own safety. They, therefore, solemnly 
published and declared the several districts composing the 
Territory of West Florida to be a free and independent 
State. John Rhea addressed a communication, through 
Governor Holmes, of Mississippi Territory, on October 
10, 1810, to Robert Smith, Secretary of State, offering 
terms of annexation to the United States. The terms 
were immediate admission into the Union as an indepen- 
dent State or as a Territory of the United States, or an- 
nexation to Orleans Territory, with full possession of 
public lands, and a loan of one hundred thousand dollars. 
An immediate answer was requested, otherwise the weak 
situation of the people of West Florida would oblige 
them to look to some foreign government for support. 

The answer of President Madison was given without 
delay. On October 27, 1810, he issued a proclamation in 
which he declared that the United States had always con- 
sidered the territory south of the Mississippi Territory 
and eastward of the river Mississippi and extending to 
the river Perdido as having been acquired as part of Loui- 
siana in 1803, and that he deemed it right and expedient 
that possession be taken of it. He therefore ordered Clai- 
borne to take possession and to exercise the authority 
appertaining to his office. The governor of the Territory 


of Orleans was at that time in Washington. He received 
orders from the Secretary of State to go immediately, and 
by the short route, to the town of Washington, in Mis- 
sissippi Territory, make arrangements with Governor 
Holmes and with the commanding officer of the regular 
troops, and proceed to take possession of the territory 
specified in the proclamation of the President. If oppo- 
sition was made, he should ask for aid from the regular 
troops on the Mississippi, and draw from Orleans and 
Mississippi Territories militia in such numbers as he and 
Governor Holmes might deem proper. He was not, how- 
ever, to employ force against any particular place, how- 
ever small, that remained in the possession of the Spanish. 

Before Claiborne could enter West Florida the Inde- 
pendent State party chose Fulwar Skipwith for gov- 
ernor, and he was inaugurated on November 29, 1810. 9 
The flag of the new State, adopted in September, was blue 
with a silver star in the center. Skipwith and Philemon 
Thomas tried to resist Claiborne's advance in the Terri- 
tory, but the latter raised the flag of the United States 
at St. Francisville and at Baton Rouge. 10 At the latter 
place the American flag was torn down, and the banner 
of the new State was raised, and a conflict was avoided 
only by the arrival of troops and of gunboats which 
Claiborne had ordered to proceed to Baton Rouge. The 
fort surrendered, and possession was taken of the whole 
province in the name of the United States. 

Meanwhile Reuben Kemper was sent by Thomas on an 
expedition against the posts on the Gulf Coast. He 
marched against Mobile, but was repelled. Governor 

i8io] WEST FLORIDA 71 

Folch, however, discouraged by the abandonment in which 
he saw himself and by the situation to which the province 
was reduced, on December 2, 1810, wrote a very extraor- 
dinary letter from Mobile to Robert Smith, Secretary of 
State, and offered to deliver the Floridas to the United 
States, provided he did not receive succor from Havana 
or Vera Cruz in December. He also supplicated for as- 
sistance against Reuben Kemper. Folch's letter was com- 
municated to Congress, in confidence, by the President, 
and led to resolutions and to a bill, which were not pro- 
mulgated until 1818. 11 The President was authorized to 
take possession of Florida east of the Perdido River, if 
the local authorities were willing to give it up, or if any 
foreign power attempted to occupy it. 

The proclamation of the President annexing West 
Florida to the Territory of Orleans gave rise, on Decem- 
ber 28, 1810, to interesting debates in the Senate of the 
United States. The whole history of Louisiana was re- 
viewed to prove the validity of the title of the United 
States to West Florida; and one of the speakers, Mr. 
Horsey, of Delaware, declared that the proclamation of 
the President was an unwarrantable assumption of power 
and a violation of the Constitution. Henry Clay re- 
plied to Mr. Horsey, and his speech was admirable. 
He said : 

I shall leave the honorable gentleman from Delaware to mourn 
over the fortunes of the fallen Charles. I have no commiseration 
for princes. My sympathies are reserved for the great mass of 
mankind, and I own that the people of Spain have them most 


He declared that the United States had a perfect title to 
West Florida; that a more propitious moment could 
never present itself for the exercise of the discretionary 
power placed in the President by the United States ; and 
that the latter, had he failed to embrace it, would have 
been criminally inattentive to the dearest interests of the 
country. He added these words, which sound somewhat 
like the famous Monroe Doctrine of later years: 

If you reject the proffered boon, some other nation, profiting 
by your errors, will seize the occasion to get a fatal footing in 
your southern frontier. I have no hesitation in saying, that if 
a parent country will not or cannot maintain its authority in a 
colony adjacent to us, and there exists in it a state of misrule 
and disorder, menacing our peace, and if, moreover, such colony 
by passing into the hands of any other power, would become 
dangerous to the integrity of the Union, and manifestly tend to 
the subversion of our laws — we have a right, upon eternal princi- 
ples of self-preservation, to lay hold of it. This principle alone, 
independent of any title, would warrant our occupation of West 

By a census taken in 1810 by the marshal of the United 
States, the population of Louisiana, exclusive of West 
Florida, was as follows: 12 City and suburbs of New Or- 
leans, 17,242; precincts of New Orleans, 7310; Plaque- 
mines, 1549; St. Bernard, 1020; St. Charles, 3291; St. 
John Baptist, 2990; St. James, 3955; Ascension, 2219; 
Assumption, 2472; Lafourche, 1995; Iberville, 2679; 
Baton Rouge, 1463; Pointe Coupee, 4539; Concordia, 
2895; Ouachita, 1077; Rapides, 2200; Catahoula, 1164; 


Avoyelles, 1209; Natchitoches, 2870; Opelousas, 5048; 
Attakapas, 7369; total, 76,556. 

The population of the Territory of Orleans was more 
than sixty thousand, and, as Poydras said in the House 
of Representatives on January 2, 1811, " the Territory 
had a right to become a State; and he could not see the 
least pretence for an objection to it. Congress, however, 
would act as in their wisdom they should deem it fit." 13 
Some members of the House were not of Poydras's opin- 
ion, and saw many objections to admitting the Territory 
into the Union. The wisdom of some members of Con- 
gress, in which Poydras trusted, seems to us at present to 
have been small when we read the long debates in Janu- 
ary, 1811, and especially the speech of Josiah Quincy of 
Massachusetts. He used the following expressions, which 
excited the greatest surprise and interest all over the 
country : 14 

There is a great rule of human conduct, which he who honestly 
observes cannot err widely from the path of his sought duty. It 
is, to be very scrupulous concerning the principles you select as the 
tests of your rights and obligations ; to be very faithful in noticing 
the result of their application ; and to be very fearless in tracing 
and exposing their immediate effects and distant consequences. 
Under the sanction of this rule of conduct, I am compelled to 
declare it as my deliberate opinion that if this bill passes, the 
bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved ; that the States which 
compose it are free from their moral obligations; and that, as it 
will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare 
definitely for a separation — amicably if they can, violently if 
they must. 


Mr. Quincy was here called to order by Mr. Poindexter, the 
delegate from Mississippi Territory. 

Mr. Quincy repeated and justified the remark he had made, 
which, to save all misapprehension, he committed to writing, in 
the following words : " If this bill passes, it is my deliberate 
opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it 
will free the States from their moral obligation; and, as it will 
be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to 
prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they 

After some little confusion, Mr. Poindexter required the de- 
cision of the Speaker whether it was consistent with the propriety 
of debate to use such an expression. He said it was radically 
wrong for any member to use arguments going to dissolve the 
government and tumble this body itself to dust and ashes. It 
would be found, from the gentleman's statement of his language, 
that he had declared the right of any portion of the people to 

Mr. Quincy wished the Speaker to decide, for, if the gentleman 
was permitted to debate the question, he should lose one half of 
his speech. 

Mr. Poindexter said that, by the interruption given him, he 
perceived the gallant jade winced. The question he wished to 
propound to the chair was this: Whether it be competent in any 
member of this House to invite any portion of the people to in- 
surrection, and, of course, to a dissolution of the Union? 

The Speaker decided that the last part of Mr. Quincy's ob- 
servations was contrary to the order of debate. An appeal was 
taken from the decision of the Speaker, and by a vote of fifty-six 
to fifty-three it was not sustained by the House. Mr. Quincy 
continued his speech, and maintained that the Constitution of the 
United States was a political compact, which embraced only the 
United States of America. He said that the preamble to the Con- 
stitution declared, We, the people of the United States, for our- 


selves and our posterity, and he added that there can, certainly, 
be nothing more obvious, than that from the general nature of the 
instrument no power can result to diminish and give away to stran- 
gers any portion of the rights of the original partners. . . . This 
Constitution never was and never can be strained to lap over all 
the wilderness of the West, without essentially affecting both the 
rights and convenience of its real proprietors. It was never con- 
structed to form a covering for the inhabitants of the Missouri 
and the Red River country. And wherever it is attempted to be 
stretched over them, it will rend asunder. . . . You have no 
authority to throw the rights and liberties, and property, of this 
people, into a " hotch pot " with the wild men on the Missouri, 
nor with the mixed though more respectable race of Anglo- 
Hispano-Gallo Americans who bask on the sands in the mouth 
of the Mississippi. I make no objection to these from their want 
of moral qualities or political light. The inhabitants of New 
Orleans are, I suppose, like those of all other countries — some 
good, some bad, some indifferent. 

Mr. Quincy ended his speech with these words: The bill, if it 
passes, is a death-blow to the Constitution. It may, afterward, 
linger; but lingering, its fate will, at no very distant period, be 

Time has proved that the Hon. Josiah Quincy was but 
a poor prophet. Mr. Poindexter, from Mississippi Ter- 
ritory, answered Mr. Quincy's narrow-minded and selfish 
address. He said that the United States, by the third ar- 
ticle of the treaty of cession, took solemn engagements 
to incorporate the inhabitants of the ceded territory into 
the Union as soon as possible. He said further that 
Aaron Burr " did not dare to go the lengths which the 
gentleman from Massachusetts has been permitted to go 
within these walls," and " had such expressions been es- 


tablished by the evidence on his trial, I hazard an opinion 
that it would have produced a very different result. Per- 
haps, Sir, instead of exile, he would have been consigned 
to a gibbet. For it cannot be concealed that the language 
of the gentleman from Massachusetts, if accompanied by 
an overt act to carry the threat which it contains into exe- 
cution, would amount to treason, according to its literal 
and technical definition in the Constitution and laws of 
the United States. The fate of Aaron Burr ought to be 
a salutary warning against treasonable machinations — 
and if others, having the same views, do not share a similar 
fate, it will not be because they do not deserve it." 

The debate between Quincy, of Massachusetts, and 
Poindexter, of Mississippi, is one of the most curious in- 
cidents in history, and illustrates admirably the irony of 
fate, when we think of the great Civil War which was 
caused by the attempted secession of the Southern States 
from the Union. 

The bill was passed, on January 14, 1811, by a vote of 
seventy-seven yeas to thirty-six nays, and was approved 
by the President on February 20, 1811. It provided: 15 

That the inhabitants of all that part of the territory or country 
ceded under the name of Louisiana, by the treaty made at Paris 
on the 30th of April, 1803, between the United States and France, 
contained within the following limits, that is to say, beginning at 
the mouth of the river Sabine, thence by a line to be drawn along 
the middle of the said river, including all islands, to the thirty- 
second degree of latitude, thence due north to the northernmost 
part of the thirty-third degree of north latitude; thence along 
the said parallel of latitude to the river Mississippi ; thence down 


the said river to the river Iberville; and from thence along the 
middle of the said river and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, 
to the Gulf of Mexico; thence bounded by the said gulf to the 
place of beginning; including all islands within three leagues of 
the coast, be and they are hereby authorized to form for them- 
selves a constitution and State government, and to assume such 
name as they may deem proper, under the provisions hereinafter 

The election for representatives to the convention was 
to be held on the third Monday in September, 1811, and 
the convention was to assemble in New Orleans on the 
first Monday in November. It was to declare, in behalf 
of the people of the Territory, that it adopts the Constitu- 
tion of the United States; whereupon it was authorized 
to form a constitution and State government, provided 
the constitution to be formed " shall be republican and 
consistent with the Constitution of the United States ; that 
it shall contain the fundamental principles of civil and 
religious liberty ; that it shall secure to the citizen the trial 
by jury in all criminal cases, and the privilege of the writ 
of habeas corpus, conformable to the provisions of the 
Constitution of the United States ; and that after the ad- 
mission of the said Territory of Orleans as a State into the 
Union, the laws which such State may pass shall be pro- 
mulgated, and its records of every description shall be 
preserved, and its judicial and legislative written proceed- 
ings conducted, in the language in which the laws and the 
judicial and legislative written proceedings of the United 
States are now published and conducted." 

The waste and unappropriated lands were to remain at 


the sole and entire disposition of the United States ; every 
tract of land sold by Congress was to be exempt from any 
tax for the term of five years after the sale ; lands belong- 
ing to citizens of the United States residing without the 
State were never to be taxed higher than lands belonging 
to persons residing therein; no taxes were to be imposed 
on lands the property of the United States; "and the 
river Mississippi and the navigable rivers and waters lead- 
ing into the same or into the Gulf of Mexico, shall be 
common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabi- 
tants of the said State as to other citizens of the United 
States, without any tax, duty, impost or toll therefor, im- 
posed by the said State." Five per cent, of the net pro- 
ceeds of the sales of the lands of the United States, after 
the first day of January, was to be applied to laying out 
and constructing public roads and levees in the State, as 
the Legislature may direct. 

In January, 1811, there was a revolt of the slaves on 
a plantation in the parish of St. John the Baptist. Other 
slaves joined them and to the number of about five 
hundred they marched, divided into companies, along the 
river toward New Orleans. They burned the houses of 
four or five plantations, and might have committed great 
excesses had they not been routed by the militia and by 
United States troops. Sixty-six of the slaves were killed 
in the action or were hanged immediately afterward, and 
sixteen were sent for trial to the city. These were con- 
victed and executed, and " their heads," says Judge 
Martin, " were placed on high poles, above and below the 
city, and along the river as far as the plantations on which 


the revolt began, and on those on which they had com- 
mitted devastation." The people of the Territory wished, 
by this terrible warning, to protect themselves against the 
repetition of the horrors of the revolt in Santo Domingo. 

The convention met on November 4, 1811; it elected 
F. J. Le Breton D'Orgenois temporary chairman, and 
adjourned to November 18. It met again on that day, 
and elected Julien Poydras president and Eligius 
Fromentin secretary. It gave to the new State the 
name of Louisiana, 16 that name which the Territory 
had lost for several vears, and which was to be as 
glorious in the future under the American domination 
as it had been in the past under the French and Spanish 

The Constitution was adopted on January 22, 1812. 
Congress passed an act for the admission of the new State 
into the Union, and the President approved the act on 
April 8, 1812. It was declared, however, that the act 
should not be in force before April 30, the ninth anniver- 
sary of the treaty of cession. An act was also passed by 
Congress and approved on April 14, 1812, enlarging the 
limits of Louisiana by all that tract of country " begin- 
ning at the junction of the Iberville with the river Missis- 
sippi, thence along the middle of the Iberville, the river 
Amite, and of the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to 
the eastern mouth of the Pearl River ; thence up the east- 
ern branch of Pearl River to the thirty-first degree of 
latitude; thence along the said degree of latitude to the 
river Mississippi; thence down the river to the place of 
beginning." This was the greater part of the Territory 


of West Florida, which had proclaimed its independence 
in 1810. 

The following are the names of the members of the 
convention that framed the first Constitution of the State 
of Louisiana: Julien Poydras, president. Of the county 
of Orleans, J. D. Degoutin Bellechasse, J. Blanque, F. 
J. Le Breton D'Orgenois, Magloire Guichard, S. Hen- 
derson, Denis de LaRonde, F. Livaudais, Bernard Ma- 
rigny, Thomas Urquhart, Jacques Villere, John Watkins, 
Samuel Winter. Of the county of German Coast, James 
Brown, Jean Noel Destrehan, Alexandre La Branche. 
Of the county of Acadia, Michel Cantrelle, J. M. Rey- 
naud, G. Roussin. Of the county of Iberville, Aman 
Hebert, William Wikoff, Jr. Of the county of Natchi- 
toches, P. Boissier, J. Prudhomme. Of the county of 
Lafourche, William Goforth, B. Hubbard, Jr., St. Mar- 
tin, H. S. Thibodaux. Of the county of Pointe Coupee, 
S. Hiriart. Of the county of Rapides, R. Hall, Thomas 
F. Oliver, Levi Wells. Of the county of Concordia, 
James Dunlap, David B. Morgan. Of the county of 
Ouachita, Henry Bry. Of the county of Opelousas, 
Allan B. Magruder, D. J. Sutton, John Thompson. Of 
the county of Attakapas, Louis De Blanc, Henry John- 
son, W. C. Maquille, Charles Olivier, Alexander Porter. 

On January 10, 1812, Robert Fulton's New Orleans 
arrived at the levee. It was the first boat propelled by 
steam on the Mississippi, and it had taken two hundred 
and fifty-nine hours to make the journey from Pittsburg. 

An interesting book about Louisiana is Vincent Nolte's 
" Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres." The author ar- 


rived in New Orleans in 1806, and his descriptions of the 
city and its inhabitants are amusing but not always trust- 
worthy. He speaks of John McDonogh, and mentions a 
fact not generally known about the benefactor of our 
public schools. McDonogh, it seems, had read, in the 
" Courrier des Etats-Unis," a novel, " Le Medecin du 
Pecq," by Leon Gozlan, and was so charmed with it that 
in his will he bequeathed to the author ten thousand dol- 
lars, which were duly paid to Gozlan by the American 
minister at Paris. Nolte did not stay long in New Or- 
leans, on his first visit there ; but he returned to America 
at the end of 1811. While on his way from Pittsburg to 
New Orleans, on the Mississippi River, he felt at New 
Madrid, on February 6, 1812, the shock of an earthquake. 
He gives an admirable description of the Mississippi, 
" foaming up like a boiling caldron, while the forest 
trees came cracking and thundering down." He says 
that at New Orleans " the earthquake had not been 
any further perceptible, than that the chandeliers in the 
ball-room had all at once been observed to rock from side 
to side, and that a number of ladies had felt quite ill, while 
others instantly fainted." On arriving in New Orleans 
Nolte found that the city was much improved, and he 
says: " Its old original inhabitants, of French and Span- 
ish origin, had always shown a certain openness, good 
faith and sincerity in their mercantile intercourse." The 
witty and sarcastic merchant got into endless difficulties 
in the city, and had to fight two duels. He took part in 
the campaign against the English. 

The first officials of the new State of Louisiana were : 


Claiborne, governor; Julien Poydras, president of the 
Senate; P. B. St. Martin, Speaker of the House of Rep- 
resentatives; J. Montegut, treasurer; L. B. Macarty, 
secretary of state; Thomas Boiling Robertson, represen- 
tative in Congress; Allan B. Magruder and Jean Xoel 
Destrehan, United States senators; Hall, Mathews, and 
Derbigny, judges of the Supreme Court. 17 Destrehan 
resigned before taking his seat in the Senate, and Thomas 
Posey was appointed in his place by Governor Claiborne. 
The first presidential electors were Julien Poydras, 
Stephen A. Hopkins, and Philemon Thomas. 


Invasion by the British 

Preparations for war with Great Britain— General Wilkinson constructs Fort 
Bowyer— Claiborne's proclamation about the Baratarians — Jean and Pierre 
Lafitte— Reward for Jean Lafitte's capture — His response— Claiborne's 
letter to Jackson— Lafitte sends to the Americans the papers received from 
the British— The establishment at Barataria destroyed— The British attack 
Fort Bowyer and are repelled — Proclamation of General Jackson to the 
Louisianians— Jackson captures Pensacola— Battle of Lake Borgne— Re- 
fusal of the Legislature to suspend the writ of habeas corpus— Martial 
law — Jackson's address to the troops— Bayou Bienvenu— The British ar- 
rive at Villere plantation. 

ONGRESS declared war against 
Great Britain on June 18, 1812, and 
Governor Claiborne, in his inaugural 
message to the Legislature, recom- 
mended an effective organization of 
the militia. He made whatever prep- 
aration he could for the defense of 
the State against depredations of the Indians and an in- 
vasion by the British, and in 1813 he visited St. Tam- 
many, Baton Rouge, Lafourche, Attakapas, Opelousas, 
and Natchitoches. At the latter place he addressed the 
great chief of the Caddo Indians. 

General Wilkinson, who had been tried a second time 
and acquitted by a court martial, had returned to New 
Orleans in 1812. In February, 1813, the President was 



authorized by Congress to occupy that part of West 
Florida, west of the Perdido, of which the United States 
had not yet taken possession. General Wilkinson 
marched against Fort Charlotte at Mobile, and captured 
it on April 13, 1813. The fort had been in the possession 
of the Spaniards ever since its capture from the British 
by the heroic Galvez in 1780. Wilkinson erected Fort 
Bowyer on Mobile Point, and soon afterward was called 
from New Orleans to the frontier of Canada. From 
that moment his name ceases to be connected with the 
history of Louisiana, in which it occupies a very impor- 
tant place. General Flournoy was sent to replace General 
Wilkinson as commander of the troops on the Mississippi. 
On March 15, 1813, Governor Claiborne issued a proc- 
lamation about a number of " banditti " who, upon or 
near the shores of Lake Barataria, had " armed and 
equipped several vessels for the avowed purpose of cruis- 
ing on the high seas, and committing depredations and 
piracies on the vessels of nations in peace with the United 
States, and carrying on an illicit trade in goods, wares, 
and merchandise with the inhabitants of the State." The 
governor commanded them to disperse and separate, and 
said that no man could partake of an " ill-gotten trea- 
sure ' : " without being forever dishonored and exposing 
himself to the severest punishment." Claiborne's procla- 
mation had no effect in stopping the smuggling that was 
going on at Barataria, for some of the most respectable 
inhabitants of Louisiana bought goods openly from the 
Baratarian traders. The latter have often been called 
pirates, but they were not properly so. They were pri- 


18131 BARATARIA 85 

vateers sailing under commissions from Cartagena or 
from France. The islands of Guadeloupe and Marti- 
nique were captured by the British in 1806, and Colonel 
Pakenham greatly distinguished himself in this expedi- 
tion. 1 Colombia, at about that time, declared her inde- 
pendence of Spain, and commissions were given at 
Cartagena to privateers to raid the Spanish vessels. 
There is no doubt that reckless men eager for booty were 
as often pirates as privateers, and the chiefs of the Bara- 
tarians, the Lafittes, may without remorse be called pi- 
rates, in spite of the services they rendered Louisiana and 
the United States, under the leadership of General 

On the Gulf coast of Louisiana, between the mouths of 
the Mississippi and. Bayou Lafourche, is the island of 
Barataria, formed in part by the lakes and bayou of 
Barataria. Upon the island there is an Indian shell- 
mound at a place called the Temple. The name Bara- 
taria is also given to a large basin, about sixty miles in 
length and thirty in breadth, between the Mississippi and 
the Lafourche. 2 At a short distance from Bayou Bara- 
taria lies the beautiful island called Grande Terre and 
later Barataria, and within the pass of Barataria is to be 
found a secure harbor, about two leagues from the open 
sea. It was there that a number of privateers, called 
" banditti " by Claiborne, established their headquarters. 

The chief or captain of the Baratarians in 1813 was 
Jean Lafitte, 3 a man of wonderful daring, whose name 
has been immortalized in history and in legend. He was 
said to have been born in Bordeaux, and had kept a forge 


at the corner of Bourbon and St. Philip streets in New 
Orleans. With him was his brother Pierre, who had been 
a seafaring man. Jean Lafitte had acted at first as town 
agent of the Baratarians, but he became their commander, 
and established a prosperous trade in smuggling. He 
had a considerable fleet in the business, both to capture 
goods at sea and to smuggle them into Louisiana. The 
events in his career have given rise to endless legends, 
and the treasures said to have been gathered at Barataria 
were as marvellous as those of the robbers' cavern in the 
" Arabian Nights." No " sesame," however, has ever 
been able to open the door leading to the treasures, and 
they have remained forever hidden in the former abode of 
the Baratarian chief. Very often in his childhood did the 
writer hear wonderful stories about Lafitte and his men. 
Dreams of fabulous wealth passed through the minds of 
many a penniless wretch, and the woods and waters of 
Barataria were often searched for the pirate's treasure. 
In vain did adventurers dig in the ground or plunge in the 
water: the treasure was no more to be obtained than the 
gold in John Law's mines. No more gold has ever been 
found under the roots of the mighty oak-trees at Grande 
Terre or under the blue waves of Barataria Bay than on 
the coast of the Mississippi or at the bottom of the mighty 
river. The treasure in Louisiana, both at Barataria and 
around New Orleans, is the wonderful fertility of the 
soil formed from the fruitful sediment which the Father 
of Waters spreads on all sides, in his tumultuous course 
toward the Gulf. The wealth of Louisiana is also com- 
merce with the world by means of the Mississippi, — not 

1813] THE LAFITTES 87 

the smuggling of the Baratarians, but legitimate trade 
with all civilized countries. The treasure of Lafitte is a 
myth, but it has added to the element of romance in the 
history of Louisiana, and it has inspired the novelis and 
the poet. It is good sometimes to abandon the reaj and 
give one's self up to one's fancy. It is happineS to 
imagine for a moment that, unlike the treasure of Cap- 
tain Kidd, Lafitte's gold and jewels will not always be 

Following Claiborne's proclamation about the Bara- 
tarians, legal prosecutions were begun on April 7, 1813, 
against Jean and Pierre Lafitte, in the United States 
District Court. 4 The charge against them was not piracy, 
but violation of the revenue and neutrality laws of the 
United States. The Lafittes and some of their com- 
panions were captured, but the proceedings amounted to 

On September 17, 1813, several citizens of New Or- 
leans agreed to be responsible in solido with Major-Gen- 
eral Villere for the sum of ten thousand dollars which 
he would have to borrow for the safety and defense of the 
State, as major-general of militia, in case the Legislature 
refused to reimburse that amount. 5 The agreement was 
signed by the following patriotic men: J. Etienne Bore, 
Jacques Villere, Pascalis Labarre, Bernard Marigny, 
Le Breton Deschapelles, Honore Fortier, Jacques For- 
tier, Du Suau de La Croix, Charles Dehault de Lassus, 
Denis de La Ronde, Duverge, Lavergne, Zeringue, Li- 
vaudais, Hazeur, P. Foucher, B. de La Roche, Dufossat, 
Pedesclaux, Macarty, J. Bienvenu, M. Fazende, C. Ar- 


noult, Olivier Forcelle, Le Breton D'Orgenois, Mayronne, 
Saint Pe, Pierre Lacoste, P. Sauve, D. Bouligny, Enoul 
Dugue, L. T. Beauregard, Cazelar, and C. Chiapella. 

On November 24, 1813, Governor Claiborne issued a 
second proclamation about the Baratarians, and offered 
a reward of five hundred dollars for the capture of Jean 
Lafitte. The latter, in his turn, offered thirty times that 
amount for Claiborne's head. 8 

In January, 1814, the Baratarians had a skirmish with 
revenue officers and vanquished them. Claiborne sent 
a communication to the Legislature on that subject, and 
said that force should be used against the lawless men at 
Barataria. It was thought that they had several pieces 
of artillery on their island, and on March 2, 1814, Clai- 
borne applied again to the Legislature to furnish him 
with means to " disperse those desperate men on Lake 
Barataria, whose piracies have rendered our shores a ter- 
ror to neutral flags, and diverted from New Orleans that 
lucrative intercourse with Vera Cruz and other neutral 
ports which formerly filled our banks with the richest de- 
posits." But the Legislature paid no attention to the 
governor's recommendations. 

The Senate, at that time, was opposing Claiborne's ap- 
pointment of a judge of the Supreme Court and had re- 
jected five nominations made by him. Dominick A. Hall 
had been appointed by the President district judge of 
the United States, and a vacancy existed on the Supreme 
Bench of the State. The governor does not appear to 
have had much confidence in the militia for the defense 
of Louisiana, in case of an invasion, and asked that the 


number of regular troops be increased. He believed that 
an effort would be made by the British to take posses- 
sion of Louisiana and to return it to Spain. Vigorous 
measures were to be taken against the enemy, who were 
now freed from their long contest with Napoleon. The 
great Emperor, after his admirable campaign in France 
in 1814, where he had repeated the marvels of his cam- 
paign in Italy in 1796 and 1797, had had his sword 
broken in his hand by the capitulation of Marmont at 
Paris. He had abdicated the crown, had taken a touch- 
ing leave of his valiant soldiers at Fontainebleau, and 
had become the sovereign of the small island of Elba in 
the Mediterranean Sea. The English, who had contrib- 
uted to the fall of Napoleon by the victories of Well- 
ington in Spain, were elated with their success and re- 
solved to prosecute with activity the war against the 
United States. Claiborne received orders from the Sec- 
retary of War to organize a corps of one thousand in- 
fantry militia, and obeyed promptly. 

On August 12, 1814, the governor wrote to General 
Jackson, who was to take command of the troops at New 
Orleans, and said: " On the native American and a vast 
majority of the Creoles of the country I place much con- 
fidence, nor do I doubt the fidelity of many Europeans 
who have long resided in the country. But there are 
others much devoted to the interest of Spain, and their 
partiality to the English is not less observable than their 
dislike for the American Government." 7 He spoke of 
the battalion of chosen men of color who were commanded 
by Colonel Michel Fortier, " a respectable and rich mer- 


chant of New Orleans," and by Major Lacoste, " a rich 
and respectable planter." 8 

No time was to be lost in preparing for defense, for the 
enemy was already at the door. Arms and officers had 
been landed by the brig Orpheus in the bay of Appalachi- 
cola, and the Creeks had been induced to cooperate in an 
attack on Fort Bowyer. Two sloops of war, the Hermes 
and the Caron, commanded by Colonel Nicholls of the ar- 
tillery, sailed from Bermuda, and on August 14, 1814, 
touched at Havana, where assistance was asked of the 
governor-general and permission to land at Pensa- 
cola. Both requests were refused, but Colonel Nicholls, 
nevertheless, went to Pensacola and established his 
headquarters there. At Barataria, Jean Lafitte was in 
distress ; his brother Pierre had been arrested in New Or- 
leans, after a severe report of the Grand Jury, and im- 
prisoned. On September 2, 1814, occurred an interest- 
ing event in his career and in the history of Louisiana. 
An armed brig appeared opposite Barataria Pass, and, 
after firing at a vessel about to enter, cast anchor at the 
entrance of the pass. Lafltte went in a boat to find out 
what was the matter, and met a pinnace containing the 
commander of the brig, Captain Lockyer, and two offi- 
cers. He was asked where was Mr. Lafltte, and on his 
replying that Lafltte was on shore they gave him a pack- 
age to be delivered to the chief of the Baratarians. La- 
fltte persuaded the English officer to go to the shore, and 
then made himself known. The package brought by 
Captain Lockyer contained a proclamation of Colonel 
Nicholls to the inhabitants of Louisiana, a letter of 


Nicholls directed to Mr. Lafitte or the commandant at 
Barataria, a proclamation of Captain Percy of the sloop 
Hermes and commander of the naval forces in the Gulf, 
and orders from Captain Percy to Captain Lockyer, com- 
mander of the sloop Sophia. 

Lafitte read these papers carefully, and Captain Lock- 
yer proposed to him to enter the service of Great Britain. 
He would have the rank of captain and a sum of thirty 
thousand dollars. Lafitte said he would give a reply in 
a few days, and absented himself for a short time, when 
Captain Lockyer and his party were taken prisoners by 
the Baratarians. Lafitte was not able to liberate them 
before the next morning, and he apologized for the con- 
duct of his men. He wrote an evasive letter to Captain 
Lockyer, as he intended to inform the Governor of Loui- 
siana of the intrigues of the British. 

The proclamation of Colonel Nicholls was dated Pen- 
sacola, August 29, 1814. It is a curious document and 
evinces utter ignorance of the feelings of the people to 
whom it was addressed. It begins in grandiloquent 
style : 

Natives of Louisiana: On you the first call is made to assist 
in liberating from a faithless, imbecile government your paternal 
soil. Spaniards, Frenchmen, Italians, and British, whether settled 
or residing for a time in Louisiana, on you also I call to aid me 
in this just cause: the American usurpation in this country must 
be abolished, and the lawful owners of the soil put in possession. 

Colonel Nicholls announced his alliance with the In- 
dians, and concluded his extraordinary proclamation with 


an apostrophe to the " Men of Kentucky." He referred 
to Napoleon as " one of the most formidable and dan- 
gerous of tyrants that ever disgraced the form of man," 
and says that when the Britons were fighting for a sacred 
cause assassins had endeavored to stab them from the 
rear. These assassins were the Americans, and the men 
of Kentucky were urged either to remain neutral or to 
fight under the standard of their forefathers. 

Jean Lafitte had been accused of piracy, but he was not 
a traitor, and he resolved to send to the State government 
all the papers he had received from the British. He sent 
them to Mr. Blanque, a representative in the Louisiana 
Legislature, with an admirable letter in which he said: 

Though proscribed by my adoptive country, I will never let 
slip any occasion of serving her or of proving that she has never 
ceased to be dear to me. Of this you will here see a convincing 
proof. Yesterday, the 3rd of September, appeared here, under 
a flag of truce, a boat coming from an English brig, at anchor 
about two leagues from the pass. Mr. Nicholas Lockyer, a British 
officer of higli rank, delivered me the following papers, two directed 
to me, a proclamation, and the admiral's instructions to that 
officer, all herewith inclosed. You will see from their contents 
the advantages I might have derived from that kind of associa- 
tion. I may have evaded the payment of duties to the custom- 
house; but I have never ceased to be a good citizen; and all the 
offence I have committed I was forced to by certain vices in our 
laws. In short, sir, I make you the depository of the secret on 
which perhaps depends the tranquillity of our country; please 
to make such use of it as your judgment may direct. I might 
expatiate on this proof of patriotism, but I let the fact speak 
for itself. I presume, however, to hope that such proceedings 
may obtain amelioration of the situation of my unhappy brother, 


with which view I recommend him particularly to your influence. 
It is in the bosom of a just man, of a true American, endowed 
with all other qualities that are honored in society, that I think 
I am depositing the interests of our common country, and what 
particularly concerns myself. Our enemies have endeavored to 
work on me by a motive which few men would have resisted. They 
represented to me a brother in irons, a brother who is to me very 
dear, whose deliverer I might become ; and I declined the proposal. 
Well persuaded of his innocence, I am free from apprehension 
as to the issue of a trial; but he is sick and not in a place where 
he can receive the assistance his state requires. I recommend him 
to you, in the name of humanity. As to the flag of truce, I have 
done with regard to it everything that prudence suggested to me 
at the time. I have asked fifteen days to determine, assigning 
such plausible pretexts that I hope the term will be granted. I 
am waiting for the British officer's answer, and for yours to this. 
Be so good as to assist me with your judicious counsel in so 
weighty an affair. 

I have the honor to salute you. 

J. Laffite. 

Lafitte wrote also the following letter to Governor 

Sir: You will always find me eager to evince my devotedness 
to the good of the country, of which I endeavored to give some 
proof in my letter of the 4th, which I make no doubt you received. 
Amongst the papers that have fallen into my hands, I send you 
a scrap which appears to me of sufficient importance to merit your 

Since the departure of the officer who came with the flag of 
truce, his ship, with two other ships of war, has remained on 
the coast, within sight. Doubtless this point is considered impor- 
tant. We have hitherto kept on a respectable defensive ; if, how- 


ever, the British attach to the possession of this place the im- 
portance they give us room to suspect they do, they may employ 
means above our strength. I know not whether, in that case, pro- 
posals of intelligence with the government would be out of reason. 
It is always from my high opinion of your enlightened mind, 
that I request you to advise me in this affair. 
I have the honor to salute you. 

J. Laffite. 

Pierre Lafitte, who had managed or had been permitted 
to escape from prison, wrote also a patriotic letter to 
Mr. Blanque, approving of his brother's action and send- 
ing him the latter's letter to Claiborne. Jean Lafitte had 
also sent to Mr. Blanque an important " scrap " contain- 
ing information about the proposed movements of the 
British against Louisiana. An expedition was being 
prepared against the Baratarians at that very moment, 
under Commodore Patterson and Colonel Ross, and Mr. 
Blanque hastened to communicate to Governor Clai- 
borne Lafitte's letters and the papers sent by him. 10 The 
governor called a meeting of the principal officers of the 
army, navy, and militia, and submitted to them two ques- 
tions: " First, whether the letters were genuine, and, sec- 
ond, whether it was proper that the governor should hold 
intercourse or enter into any correspondence with Mr. 
Lafitte and his associates." A negative answer was re- 
turned to the questions by all the persons present at the 
meeting, except by General Villere, who was of the opin- 
ion that the papers were genuine and that the Baratarians 
might be employed in the defense of the State. Clai- 
borne was of the same opinion as Villere, but he did not 

1814] THE MILITIA 95 

vote. Commodore Patterson and Colonel Ross were 
therefore ordered to proceed against the Baratarians with 
the schooner Carolina and gunboats. This was done, 
several of the privateers or so-called pirates were taken 
prisoners and thrown into the calaboose in New Orleans, 
and their vessels and goods were seized. Jean Lafitte es- 
caped and retired to the German Coast, where he warned 
the inhabitants of the impending attack from the British. 
On September 5, 1814, Governor Claiborne, in obe- 
dience to a letter from General Jackson, issued orders for 
the militia to be held in readiness for active service. 
Major-General Villere was to organize companies in 
New Orleans on September 10, and Major-General 
Philemon Thomas, at Baton Rouge, on or about Oc- 
tober 1. " Major-General Jackson, commanding the 
seventh military district," said the governor, " invites me 
to lose no time in preparing for the defense of the State. 
This gallant commander is now at or near Mobile watch- 
ing the movements of the enemy, and making the neces- 
sary preparations to cover and defend this section of the 
Union. He will in due time receive reinforcements from 
the other States on the Mississippi; he calculates also on 
the zealous support of the Louisianians, and must not be 
disappointed." On September 8, 1814, Claiborne again 
issued general orders about the militia. He directed that 
the companies should muster, for inspection and exercise, 
twice a week in New Orleans and its suburbs, and once 
a week in the interior counties; and he invited fathers 
of families and men of advanced age to form military 
associations. He said he was persuaded that efforts 


to divide the people would not prove successful. " In 
defense of our homes and families there surely will be 
but one opinion, one sentiment. The American citizen, 
on contrasting his situation with that of the citizen or 
subject of any other country on earth, will see abundant 
cause to be content with his destinv. He must be aware 


how little he can gain and how much he must lose by a 
revolution or change of government." 

On September 15, 1814, a numerous meeting of the 
citizens of New Orleans and its vicinity was held at Tre- 
moulet's coffee-house. 11 Edward Livingston was called 
to the chair, and Richard Relf was appointed secretary. 
Livingston made an eloquent speech and proposed a 
series of patriotic resolutions. As the English had as- 
serted that there was disaffection in the State, the citizens 
at this meeting declared that such an allegation was false 
and insidious, and that the people of the State were at- 
tached to the government of the United States and would 
repel with indignation every attempt to create disaffec- 
tion and weaken the force of the country by exciting dis- 
sensions and jealousies at a moment when union was most 
necessary. A committee of public defense was appointed, 
consisting of nine members: Edward Livingston, Pierre 
Foucher, Du Suau de La Croix, Benjamin Morgan, 
George M. Ogden, Dominique Bouligny, Jean Noel 
Destrehan, John Blanque, and Augustin Macarty. The 
committee issued to their fellow-citizens a spirited address, 
which ended as follows: "Beloved countrymen, listen 
to the men honored by your confidence, and who will en- 
deavor to merit it; listen to the voice of honor, of duty, 

1814] FORT BOWYER 97 

and of nature! Unite! Form but one body, one soul, 
and defend to the last extremity your sovereignty, your 
property — defend your own lives and the dearer existence 
of your wives and children! " The address was signed by 
all the members of the committee except John Blanque 
and Ogden. 12 

While the citizens of New Orleans were preparing for 
defense the British were attacking Fort Bowyer on Mo- 
bile Point, a very important position, which controls the 
navigation of the coast of West Florida and secures an 
easy communication with Pensacola. 13 The commander 
at Fort Bowyer was Major Lawrence; he had a garrison 
of one hundred and thirty men and twenty guns, and he 
defended himself with great bravery and ability. The 
enemy appeared on September 12 with two sloops of war 
and two brigs, and the next day threw three shells and 
one cannon-ball against the fort. They had as auxiliaries 
six hundred Indians and Spaniards. On September 14 
the enemy were employed in fortifying, and on Septem- 
ber 15 the regular attack was begun. The ships moved 
against the fort at two o'clock in the afternoon, Captain 
Percy's ship, the Hermes, leading. A dreadful fire was 
kept up by the British ships and by the fort, which was 
attacked also by land. The enemy were finally repelled, 
and the Hermes was disabled and burned, but the three 
other ships — the Car on, the Sophia, and the Anaconda — 
succeeded in getting out to sea. Major Lawrence had 
won a victory over the invaders, and their repulse was a 
happy omen for the campaign just beginning. The 
effective force of the British was thirteen hundred and 


thirty men, and their loss was two hundred and thirty- 
two men killed or wounded. The Americans lost only 
five killed and four wounded. General Jackson compli- 
mented Major Lawrence and his men on their glorious 
deeds, and the committee of public defense in New Or- 
leans resolved that a saber be presented to the major as 
a testimonial of the sense entertained of his skill and gal- 
lantry. The brave men under his command received also 
an expression of gratitude from the committee for the 
service which they had rendered to Louisiana as well as to 
the United States. 

On September 21, 1814, General Jackson, from his 
headquarters at Mobile, issued a proclamation to the 
Louisianians. He called the enemy " the base, the per- 
fidious Britons," to whom the gallant Lawrence had given 
" a lecture that will last for ages." He added : 

Louisianians : The proud Briton, the natural and sworn ene- 
mies of all Frenchmen, has called upon you, by proclamation, to 
aid him in his tyranny, and to prostrate the holy temple of our 
liberty. Can Louisianians, can Frenchmen, can Americans ever 
stoop to be the slaves or allies of Great Britain? I well know 
that every man whose soul beats high at the proud title of free- 
man, that every Louisianian, either by birth or adoption, will 
promptly obey the voice of his country, will rally around the 
eagle of Columbia, secure it from the pending danger or nobly 
die in the last ditch in its defence. 

Jackson refers to the offers made by the British to the 
u pirates " of Barataria, whom he calls " hellish banditti." 
It is a curious fact that these same " demons " were after- 
ward praised by the general for their conduct at the bat- 


tie of New Orleans. On September 21, 1814, General 
Jackson, by proclamation, invited the free men of color 
of Louisiana to enroll themselves in the army. 

On September 25, Secretary Monroe wrote to Jackson 
that there was cause to believe that the enemy had set 
on foot an expedition against Louisiana through the 
Mobile. 14 President Madison therefore took the neces- 
sary steps to reinforce Jackson, and informed him, on 
October 10, that " not less than twelve thousand five hun- 
dred men were already subject to his orders, from Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee, and Georgia." General Jackson, at 
that time, was making preparations to attack Pensacola. 
This, says Mr. Henry Adams, the President, on October 
21, forbade him to do, warning him again of the intention 
of the British to invade Louisiana. On October 25, Gen- 
eral Coffee arrived at Mobile with his Tennessee brigade 
of twenty-eight hundred men, and on November 3 Jack- 
son marched against Pensacola with forty-one hundred 

After the massacre at Fort Mimms, on September 13, 
1813, by the Creeks, the latter had been completely de- 
feated by General Jackson, on March 27, 1814, and a 
treaty of peace had been concluded with them on Au- 
gust 9. However, some of the Creeks who had not par- 
ticipated in the treaty had aided the British in their 
attack on Fort Bowyer in September, 1814., The Span- 
iards at Pensacola had shown such decided hostility to the 
Americans during the expedition of the British against 
Fort Bowyer that Jackson resolved to take possession of 
Pensacola. On November 7 he attacked the town, which 


capitulated after a brief resistance. The next day Fort 
Barrancas, celebrated in Galvez's campaign in 1781, was 
blown up by the Spaniards, who retreated to Havana. 15 
Major Lacarriere Latour, whose " Memoir of the War 
in West Florida and Louisiana " is so valuable, approves 
highly of Jackson's capture of Pensacola, and says: 

The following was the situation of affairs: The British ex- 
pelled from Pensacola Bay; the Indians wandering in those low 
islands, perishing for want of good food ; the Spaniards punished 
for their want of good faith, and taught by sad experience that 
they could not expect to injure their peaceable neighbors with 

It was the indomitable energy of Jackson that inspired 
with boundless enthusiasm all who came in contact with 
him. As Nolte said: "The general had bent all the 
strength of his will on one single point, and that was to 
meet and drive off the red-coats." He returned to Mobile 
on November 11 with his troops, and on November 22 set 
out by land for New Orleans, where he arrived on De- 
cember 2, 1814. Sir Edward Pakenham had sailed from 
Jamaica with the British expedition four days after Jack- 
son left Mobile. 

The situation in New Orleans was gloomy; the Legis- 
lature had met on November 10, 1814, but had not been 
able to accomplish much for the defense of the State. 
The banks had suspended specie payment; there was no 
concentration of power, in spite of Claiborne's efforts, 
and great apprehension was felt for the safety of New 
Orleans. The presence of Jackson changed the situation, 


and inspired every one with confidence and hope. The 
general was forty-seven years old ; he appeared weak and 
in poor health, but on the day of his arrival he began to 
attend with great activity to his military duties. He re- 
viewed Major Daquin's battalion of militia on Decem- 
ber 2, and two days later he set out to visit Fort St. 
Philip at Plaquemines. As it was probable that the en- 
emy would approach by the Mississippi, he ordered 
Major Latour to prepare plans for two batteries on the 
side of the river opposite Fort St. Philip. He also or- 
dered Governor Claiborne to have all the bayous leading 
from the Gulf obstructed, and asked the governor to call 
on the Legislature for help in constructing the necessary 
fortifications. Jackson, on returning to New Orleans 
from Fort St. Philip, went to Chef Menteur, and was 
there when the British attacked and captured the flotilla 
of American gunboats in Lake Borgne. 

On November 24, 1814, a review of the British fleet and 
troops took place in Negril Bay, Jamaica. Sir Alexan- 
der Cochrane, with his squadron, had sailed from the 
Chesapeake with the army of Colonel Brooks, who had 
succeeded General Ross, killed before Baltimore. At 
Negril Bay Cochrane's squadron met Admiral Malcolm's 
squadron and reinforcements brought from England 
by General Keane, who was commander-in-chief. The 
whole army amounted to seventy-four hundred and fifty 
men, 16 and the fleet consisted of about fifty sail. Among 
the officers of the squadron were, besides Cochrane and 
Malcolm, Sir Thomas Hardy, in whose arms Nelson 
died at the battle of Trafalgar; Rear- Admiral Codring- 


ton; and Captain Gordon. General Keane was a young 
and brilliant officer. This was indeed a formidable force 
for the attack on New Orleans. 

On November 26, 1814, the British fleet sailed from 
Negril Bay, Admiral Cochrane leading the way on board 
the Tonnantj captured from the French at Aboukir, and 
followed closely by the Ram Mies. The enemy cast an- 
chor, December 10, in the channel between Cat and Ship 
Islands, and were discovered by a small flotilla of gun- 
' boats under Lieutenant Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, who 
had been ordered bv Commodore Patterson to observe 
their movements. On December 13 the five gunboats, 
perceiving the immense superiority of the enemy, en- 
deavored to fall back upon a fort near the mouth of the 
Rigolets, called Petites Coquilles, but the wind entirely 
died away, and the flotilla came to anchor in the passage 
of Malheureux Island. There Lieutenant Jones had, he 
said, " but one alternative left him, which was to give the 
enemy as warm a reception as possible." 17 The tender 
Sea-horse and stores at Bay St. Louis had previously 
been destroyed by the Americans, to prevent the British 
taking possession of them. As the water in Lake Borgne 
was very shallow, Admiral Cochrane sent a flotilla of 
launches and ships' barges, fifty open boats in all, com- 
manded by Captain Lockyer, to attack Captain Jones's 
gunboats. The five gunboats had a total of twenty-three 
guns and were commanded by Lieutenants Jones, Sped- 
den, and McKeever, and Sailing-masters Ferris and Ul- 
rick. They succeeded in taking the tender Alligator, 
armed with a four-pounder and eight men, and the action 


became general at ten minutes before eleven in the morn- 
ing. The Americans made a desperate resistance, espe- 
cially gunboat No. 156, commanded by Lieutenant Jones 
in person. Captain Lockyer was severely wounded, and 
Lieutenants Jones and Robert Spedden also. Lieuten- 
ant McKeever was slightly wounded, and the loss of the 
Americans was about one third their number, which con- 
sisted of one hundred and eighty-two men. The British 
had about twelve hundred men in the action, and lost 
about three hundred killed and wounded. Great gallan- 
try was displayed on both sides, and the whole Amer- 
ican flotilla was finally captured after a heroic resis- 
tance. Among the British officers killed was Lieutenant 
Pratt, 18 who had burned the Capitol at Washington 
in the summer of 1814, under the orders of Admiral 

The battle of Lake Borgne gave the British the com- 
mand of that lake and enabled them to land their army 

without opposition. A curious fact connected with that 
engagement is that after Captain Lockyer had captured 

Jones's gunboat No. 156 he fired her guns upon the 

other American boats without striking the American 

flag. Major Latour expresses surprise at the defenseless 

condition in which Louisiana had been left in 1814, and 

says that twenty-five gunboats would have rendered it 

impossible for the British to land and would have obliged 

them to abandon the project of attacking New Orleans 

by the lakes. 19 " To approach by the river is out of the 

question," says an English officer. 20 The same author 

says of New Orleans as he saw it in 1814: 


Though in itself unfortified, it is difficult to conceive a place 
capable of presenting greater obstacles to an invader; and at 
the same time more conveniently situated with respect to trade. 
Built upon a narrow neck of land, which is confined on one side 
by the river, and on the other by impassable morasses, its means 
of defence require little explanation ; and as these morasses ex- 
tend to the distance of only a few miles, and are succeeded by 
Lake Pontchartrain, which again communicates through Lake 
Borgne with the sea, its peculiar commercial advantages must 
be equally apparent. 

The capture of the American flotilla was announced 
by Governor Claiborne to the Legislature. That body 
has been accused of lukewarmness and even of want of 
patriotism; but Judge Martin, 21 who in 1814 was at- 
torney-general of Louisiana, defends the Legislature and 

In attachment to the Union, in zeal for the defence of the 
country, in liberality in furnishing the means of it, and in min- 
istering to the wants of their brave fellow-citizens who came 
down to assist them in repelling the foe, the General Assembly 
of Louisiana does not suffer by a comparison of its conduct with 
that of any legislative body in the United States. 

With regard to the people of New Orleans Judge 
Martin says: 

Although the population of New Orleans was composed of 
individuals of different nations, it was as patriotic as that of any 
city in the Union. The Creoles were sincerely attached to liberty 
and the General Government ; they had given a strong evidence of 
this, on their admission into the Union, by the election of the 
governor, judges, and almost every other officer sent to them by 
the President of the L T nited States. 

h u,-:/ .* Cf. Par,*- 


The Legislature aided Claiborne and Jackson in every 
way that they believed to be legitimate ; but they refused 
to suspend the writ of habeas corpus as proposed by Clai- 
borne at the suggestion of Jackson and Commodore Pat- 
terson. The Legislature, says Judge Martin, knew how 
loyal were the people, and " thought the State should not 
outlaw her citizens when they were struggling to repel 
the enemy. They dreaded the return of those days when 
Wilkinson filled New Orleans with terror and dismay, 
arresting and transporting whom he pleased." Loual- 
lier, who, as chairman of the ways and means committee, 
had made a patriotic report in November, was also chair- 
man of the committee that reported against suspending 
the writ of habeas corpus. It was thought wiser to offer 
bounties to sailors than to impress them by force into the 
service of the United States. An embargo law was also 

The militia was called out en masse by the governor, 
and on December 16, 1814, he suggested the expediency 
of an adjournment of the Legislature for twenty or 
twenty-five days. The two houses refused to comply with 
Claiborne's suggestion, and thereupon General Jackson 
declared martial law on December 16. On the day pre- 
ceding he had addressed to the citizens of New Orleans 
a spirited and characteristic proclamation, in which he 
told them not to believe the report that the invasion had 
been made with a view of restoring the country to Spain. 
" Believe not such incredible tales — your government is 
at peace with Spain — it is the vital enemy of your coun- 
try, the common enemy of mankind, the highway robber 


of the world, that threatens you, and has sent his hire- 
lings amongst you with this false report, to put you off 
your guard that you may fall an easy prey to him." The 
proclamation ended with these ominous words: "Those 
who are not for us are against us, and will be dealt with 

On his return from Chef Menteur, after the battle of 
Lake Borgne, Jackson displayed the greatest energy and 
fortified all assailable points. He sent [Major Lacoste's 
battalion of men of color and the dragoons of Feliciana 
to Chef Menteur, and he wrote to Generals Coffee, Car- 
roll, and Thomas, urging them to come to New Orleans 
as speedily as possible. A second battalion of men of 
color was formed, chiefly refugees from Santo Domingo, 
and was placed under the command of Major Daquin, 
under whom was Captain Savary, who had served in the 
French army in the wars of Santo Domingo. 

On December 18 Jackson reviewed the troops at New 
Orleans, the embodied militia, Major Plauche's uni- 
formed companies, and part of the men of color. His 
aide-de-camp, Edward Livingston, read to the troops en- 
ergetic addresses. Nolte says that Livingston rendered 
invaluable aid to the general during the whole campaign 
and wrote for him all his despatches and proclamations. 
Grymes was also of service with his pen. The style of 
Jackson's addresses, after his arrival in New Orleans, is 
certainly far superior to that of his proclamation of Sep- 
tember, 1814, dated from Mobile, which the " Louisiana 
Gazette " ridiculed. But the spirit of all the addresses 
and despatches is characteristic of Jackson. 

1814] MARTIAL ARDOR 107 

As New Orleans was in great danger, the services of 
Lafitte and the Baratarians were accepted, and all classes 
of society were filled with zeal and enthusiasm for the 
defense of the country. The women of New Orleans 
gave proof of their patriotism and applauded the men 
who were preparing to fight for the protection of their 
hearths. " The streets resounded," says Latour, " with 
* Yankee Doodle,' the ' Marseilles Hymn,' the ' Chant du 
Depart,' and other martial airs, while those who had been 
long unaccustomed to military duty were furbishing their 
arms and accoutrements." 

The consul of France, the Chevalier de Tousac, who 
had served in the war of the American Revolution and 
had lost an arm while fighting for the independence of 
the United States, regretted that he was not able to fight 
once more against the British, and encouraged all the 
Frenchmen in New Orleans to enlist in Jackson's army. 
The Legislature, in order to enable all men to perform 
their military duties without being embarrassed by their 
commercial engagements, passed an act on December 18, 
1814, prolonging for one hundred and twenty days the 
term of payment of all contracts. In New Orleans prep- 
arations for the defense had been actively made, and 
Jackson seemed to have taken all necessary precautions 
against a surprise by the enemy. Unhappily, however, 
an important road of ingress had not been sufficiently 

One of the numberless bayous or streams in the vicinity 
of New Orleans is called Bayou Bienvenu. The British 
officers name it Bayou Catalan in their reports, and it 


was formerly called the river St. Francis. 22 It flows into 
Lake Borgne and " is navigable for vessels of one hun- 
dred tons as far as the forks of the canal of Piernas's 
plantation, twelve miles from its mouth. Its breadth 
is from one hundred and ten to one hundred and fifty 
yards, and it has six feet of water on the bar at the com- 
mon tides, and nine feet at spring tides. Within the bar 
there is, for a considerable extent, sufficient water for 
vessels of two to three hundred tons. Its principal branch 
is that which is called Bayou Mazant, which runs toward 
the southwest and receives the waters of the canals of the 
plantations of Villere, Lacoste, and La Ronde, on which 
the enemy established his principal encampment." A 
mile and a half from the mouth of Bayou Bienvenu was 
a Spanish fishermen's village, the inhabitants of which 
served as spies and guides to the British. General Keane, 
having heard that it was possible to effect a landing at 
the head of Bayou Bienvenu, or Catalan, as he calls it, 
ordered it to be reconnoitered. Captain Spencer and 
Lieutenant Peddie were despatched on that errand, and 
arrived on December 20 at the fishermen's village. There 
they got a pirogue, disguised themselves as fishermen, 
employed two inhabitants of the village to row them 
up the bayou, and succeeded in reaching Villere's canal, 
through which they arrived at a point a short dis- 
tance from the Mississippi River. From the head of the 
canal they walked to the levee in front of the Villere 
plantation, which was only eight miles from New Or- 
leans, and drank some water out of the Mississippi. 
Their expedition had been successful and proved that it 


was possible to arrive unperceived in the vicinity of New 

After the battle of Lake Borgne the British troops 
were collected at He aux Pois, or Pea Island, at the en- 
trance of Pearl River. On December 22 sixteen hundred 
men, commanded by Keane, were put into barges or pin- 
naces, and after a very uncomfortable journey, during 
which they suffered greatly from rain and cold, they ar- 
rived at the mouth of Bayou Bienvenu, and a little later 
at the fishermen's village. At that place was a small 
detachment of militia, which had been sent by Major 
Gabriel Villere to observe the approach of the enemy. 
The detachment consisted only of nine white men and 
three negroes, and had arrived at the village on Decem- 
ber 21. They were surprised by the British in the night 
of December 22, and were all captured, except one man 
who succeeded in escaping. One of the prisoners was Mr. 
Ducros, a Creole gentleman, and he was taken to Gen- 
eral Keane and Admiral Cochrane and questioned with 
regard to the number of the American forces. Ducros 
answered that in the city there were from twelve to fifteen 
thousand men and from three to four thousand at the 
English Turn. The other prisoners, by a preconcerted 
agreement, confirmed Ducros's statement, to the aston- 
ishment of the British officers, who had been told by the 
Spanish fishermen that Jackson's forces amounted to no 
more than five thousand men. 

The enemy advanced in their barges through Bayou 
Bienvenu and entered Bayou Mazant. After a short 
distance the boats could no longer be propelled, and the 


army marched along the bayou by a road " opened 
through several fields of reeds, intersected by deep, 
muddy ditches, bordered by a low, swampy wood." 23 
They reached Villere's canal at about half -past eleven, 
and soon arrived at a cultivated field of sugar-cane and 
an orange grove. Colonel Thornton advanced rapidly 
and surrounded General Villere's house, in which were a 
company of militia, who were captured. Major Villere, 
a son of the general, was smoking his cigar on the front 
gallery of the house, and his brother was cleaning a fowl- 
ing-piece, when they perceived some British soldiers. 24 
They were both taken prisoners, but Major Villere leaped 
through a window of his father's house and escaped the 
fire of his captors. He ran to the woods, and then met 
on a neighboring plantation Colonel de La Ronde, with 
whom he crossed the river. 

Villere and De La Ronde went to Du Suau de La 
Croix's plantation, and thence Villere, De La Ronde, and 
De La Croix hastened on horseback to New Orleans, to 
announce the arrival of the British. Alexander Walker 
says, in his " Jackson and New Orleans," that the three 
Louisianians saw the general at half -past one o'clock 
p.m. on December 23, and related the story of the arrival 
of the British on Villere's plantation, whereupon Jackson 
exclaimed: " By the Eternal, they shall not sleep on our 
soil! ' : Major Lacarriere Latour, however, whose " His- 
torical Memoir " is so accurate and not at all rhetorical, 
does not mention this incident, and does not say precisely 
who it was that first informed Jackson of the approach of 
the British. 25 He says he was sent by the general on 


December 23 to ascertain whether it was true that several 
sails had been seen behind Terre-aux-Bceufs, and to ex- 
amine the communication from that place to Lake 
Borgne. 26 He heard of the capture of the militia com- 
pany at Villere's plantation, and approached within rifle- 
shot of the British troops. He estimated their number 
at sixteen or eighteen hundred men. " It was then half- 
past one p.m.," says he, " and within twenty-five minutes 
after, General Jackson was informed of the enemy's po- 


The Battles of December, 1814, and 
January 8, 1815 

Battle of December 23, 1814— Destruction of the Carolina— Battle of De- 
cember 28, 1814— Interference with the Legislature— Artillery battle of 
January 1, 1815— Battle of New Orleans— Jackson's reports of the battle— 
Nolte's statement about cotton bales used in intrenchments— Jackson's gen- 
eral orders — An Englishman's opinion of the campaign. 

S soon as the British had reached Vil- 
lere's plantation, Colonel Thornton 
urged that New Orleans be attacked 
immediately. General Keane de- 
cided to wait for reinforcements, and 
thus he gave time to Jackson to col- 
lect his troops. The American gen- 
eral did not lose a minute : he ordered the alarm-gun to be 
fired, sent for Coffee and Carroll, who were four miles 
above the city, and for Major Plauche, who was at Bayou 
St. John, and marched against the British. There were 
Coffee's mounted Tennessee riflemen and the volunteer 
dragoons of the Mississippi Territory, Beale's Orleans 
Rifle Company, Daquin's free men of color, eighteen 
Choctaw Indians, Baker's Forty-fourth Regiment, and 
Plauche's battalion. There were two field-guns, and 
Commodore Patterson was on board the schooner Caro- 
lina, which was to take a station opposite the enemy. 
Governor Claiborne, with four regiments of Louisiana 


1814] . DECEMBER 23 113 

militia and one company of horse, was stationed in the 
plain of Gentilly to protect the city from an attack in the 
direction of Chef Menteur. 

As Jackson's army advanced, a negro was captured 
with copies of a proclamation in French and Spanish, 
signed by Keane and Cochrane, as follows: " Louisiani- 
ans ! remain quiet in your houses ; your slaves shall be pre- 
served to you, and your property respected. We make 
war only against Americans." The British still foolishly 
believed that the Louisianians were not Americans; but 
they were soon to be undeceived. 1 The proclamation was 
posted on the fences all along the road below the planta- 
tion of De La Ronde. The owner of the plantation, Colo- 
nel de La Ronde, accompanied General Coffee as a vol- 
unteer and as a guide. The plantations on which the bat- 
tles of December, 1814, and January, 1815, were fought 
were Villere's, Lacoste's, De La Ronde's, Bienvenu's, and 
Chalmette's. The headquarters of the British were in 
General Villere's house, and they had mounted a few 
pieces of cannon near the sugar-house. The line of the 
enemy extended as far as De La Ronde's plantation; and 
they felt so litttle apprehension of an attack that some 
pickets had lighted fires and part of the army had gone 
into bivouac. At about seven o'clock the Carolina arrived 
in front of the batture of Villere's plantation, and a num- 
ber of British soldiers went on the levee to examine the 
boat, not dreaming that she had been sent to attack them. 
At half -past seven the Carolina opened fire and compelled 
the enemy to leave his camp. The forces under Jackson 
soon appeared and attacked the British sharply in front 


from the road, and in the rear of De La Ronde's planta- 
tion. At half -past nine the enemy fell back to his camp, 
and Jackson, seeing that it was too dark to continue the 
attack, led back his army to their former position on the 
De La Ronde plantation. At English Turn a detach- 
ment of three hundred and fifty Louisiana militia, under 
General David Morgan, heard that the British had 
reached Villere's plantation, and they asked to be led 
against the enemy. This Morgan refused to do ; but when 
the men heard the firing of the Carolina, in the evening of 
December 23, they could no longer be restrained, and 
were allowed to march against the British. There was 
some skirmishing with the enemy at Jumonville's planta- 
tion, adjoining Villere's, but Morgan's detachment, being 
ignorant of the positions of Jackson's army and fearing 
an ambush, remained in a neighboring field until three 
o'clock in the morning of December 24, and then marched 
back to the English Turn. 

Jackson's troops on December 23 amounted to twenty- 
one hundred and thirty-one men, of whom about eigh- 
teen hundred took part in the engagement. 2 The British 
officers estimated the number of the Americans at 
five thousand, because they took Plauche's companies for 
so many battalions, as each company wore a distinct uni- 
form. Major Latour, who was present at the battle, 
praises highly Jackson's soldiers and their commanders, 
and of Jackson himself he says: 

But I cannot decline paying the tribute of justice to General 
Jackson, to say that no man could possibly have shown more per- 


sonal valor, more firmness and composure, than was exhibited by 
him through the whole of this engagement, on which depended per- 
haps the fate of Louisiana. I may say, without fearing to be 
taxed with adulation, that on the night of the 23rd General 
Jackson exposed himself rather too much. I saw him in advance 
of all who were near him, at a time when the enemy was making 
a charge on the artillery, within pistol-shot, in the midst of a 
shower of bullets, and in that situation I observed him spiriting 
and urging on the marines and the rifles of the Seventh Regiment, 
who, animated by the presence and voice of their gallant com- 
mander-in-chief, attacked the enemy so bravely that they soon 
forced him to retire. 

With regard to the number of the British, Major La- 
tour says that forty-five hundred men were landed on 
the 23d, before nine o'clock at night. They lost, in 
killed, wounded, and prisoners, three hundred and five 
men, according to their report, and the Americans two 
hundred and thirteen men. The battle of December 23 
was very important, and Jackson's impetuosity probably 
saved New Orleans, which might not have resisted a sud- 
den attack. The general wrote as follows to the Secretary 
of War: 3 

Headquarters, Seventh Military District, 
Camp below New Orleans, 

27th December, a.m. 
Sir: The loss of our gunboats near the pass of the Rigolets 
having given the enemy command of Lake Borgne, he was enabled 
to choose his point of attack. It became, therefore, an object 
of importance to obstruct the numerous bayous and canals leading 
from that lake to the high lands on the Mississippi. This impor- 


tant service was committed, in the first instance, to a detachment 
from the Seventh Regiment, afterward to Colonel de La Ronde 
of the Louisiana militia, and lastly, to make all sure, to Major- 
General Villere, commanding the district between the river and 
the lakes, and who, being a native of the country, was presumed 
to be best acquainted with all those passes. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, a picket which the General had established at the mouth 
of the Bayou Bicnvenu, and which, notwithstanding my orders, 
had been left unobstructed, was completely surprised, and the 
enemy penetrated through a canal leading to his farm about two 
leagues below the city, and succeeded in cutting off a company 
of militia stationed there. The intelligence was communicated to 
me about two o'clock of the 23rd. My force, at this time, con- 
sisted of parts of the Seventh and Forty-fourth regiments, not 
exceeding six hundred together, the city militia, a part of General 
Coffee's brigade of mounted gun-men, and the detached militia 
from the western division of Tennessee under the command of 
Major-General Carroll. These two last corps were stationed four 
miles above the city. Apprehending a double attack by the way 
of Chef Menteur, I left General Carroll's force and the militia 
of the city posted on the Gentilly road; and at five o'clock p.m. 
marched to meet the enemy, whom I was resolved to attack in his 
first position, with Major Hinds's dragoons, General Coffee's bri- 
gade, parts of the Seventh and Forty-fourth regiments, the uni- 
form companies of militia under the command of Major Plauche, 
two hundred men of color (chiefly from Santo Domingo) raised by 
Colonel Savary and acting under the command of Major Daquin, 
and a detachment of artillery under the direction of Colonel 
M'Rea, with two six-pounders under the command of Lieutenant 
Spotts — not exceeding in all fifteen hundred. I arrived near the 
enemy's encampment about seven, and immediately made my dis- 
positions for the attack. His forces, amounting at that time 
on land to about three thousand, extended half a mile on the river, 
and in the rear nearly to the wood. General Coffee was ordered 
to turn their right, while with the residue of the force I attacked 


his strongest position on the left, near the river. Commodore 
Patterson, having dropped down the river in the schooner Caro- 
lina, was directed to open a fire upon their camp, which he exe- 
cuted at about half after seven. This being the signal of attack, 
General Coffee's men, with their usual impetuosity, rushed on 
the enemy's right, and entered their camp, while our right ad- 
vanced with equal ardor. There can be but little doubt that we 
should have succeeded on that occasion, with our inferior force, 
in destroying or capturing the enemy, had not a thick fog, which 
arose about eight o'clock, occasioned some confusion among the 
different corps. Fearing the consequences, under this circum- 
stance, of the further prosecution of a night attack with troops 
then acting together for the first time, I contented myself with 
lying on the field that night ; and at four in the morning assumed 
a stronger position about two miles nearer to the city. At this 
position I remained encamped, waiting the arrival of the Ken- 
tucky militia and other reinforcements. As the safety of the 
city will depend on the fate of this army, it must not be incau- 
tiously exposed. 

In this affair the whole corps under my command deserve great 
credit. The best compliment I can pay to General Coffee and his 
brigade is to say they behaved as they have always done while 
under my command. The Seventh, led by Major Peire, and the 
Forty-fourth, commanded by Colonel Ross, distinguished them- 
selves. The battalion of city militia, commanded by Major 
Plauche, realized my anticipations and behaved like veterans; 
Savary's volunteers manifested great bravery; and the com- 
pany of city riflemen, having penetrated into the midst of the 
enemy's camp, were surrounded, and fought their way out with 
the greatest heroism, bringing with them a number of prisoners. 
The two field-pieces were well served by the officer commanding 

All my officers in the line did their duty, and I have every 
reason to be satisfied with the whole of my field and staff. Colonels 
Butler and Pratt, and Major Chotard, by their intrepidity, saved 


the artillery. Colonel Haynes was everywhere that duty or danger 
called. I was deprived of the services of one of my aides, Captain 
Butler, whom I was obliged to station, to his great regret, in 
town. Captain Reid, my other aide, and Messrs. Livingston, Du- 
plessis and Davezac, who had volunteered their services, faced 
danger wherever it was to be met, and carried my orders with 
the utmost promptitude. 

We made one major, two subalterns, and sixty-three privates 
prisoners, and the enemy's loss in killed and wounded must have 

been at least . My own loss I have not as yet been able to 

ascertain with exactness, but suppose it to amount to one hun- 
dred in killed, wounded, or missing. Among the former I have 
to lament the loss of Colonel Lauderdale of General Coffee's 
brigade, who fell while bravely fighting. Colonels Dyer and 
Gibson, of the same corps, were wounded, and Major Kavenaugh 
taken prisoner. 

Colonel de La Ronde, Major Villere of the Louisiana militia, 
Major Latour of the engineers, having no command, volunteered 
their services, as did Drs. Kerr and Flood, and were of great 
assistance to me. 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Andrew Jackson. 

On December 24, at four o'clock in the morning, Jack- 
son fell back and took position on the left bank of Rodri- 
guez Canal, about two miles from the field of battle. He 
left a small force on De La Ronde's plantation to observe 
the movements of the enemy, and directed strong in- 
trenchments on the Rodriguez Canal. He established his 
headquarters in Macarty's house. He also caused the 
levee to be cut in front of his lines to impede the advance 
of the enemy by overflowing the ground. Meanwhile the 
British, by great exertions, succeeded in concentrating 


their troops at the Villere plantation on December 25. 
On that day Sir Edward Fakenham arrived and took 
command of the army. He was a brother-in-law of Wel- 
lington, was thirty-seven years of age, and was considered 
one of the bravest and ablest of the British generals. On 
Christmas Day, 1814, his army numbered five thousand 
and forty rank and file, and by January 6 he had under 
his command eight thousand excellent troops. As Jack- 
son was strongly intrenched and was protected by two 
pieces of artillery, and the Carolina and the Louisiana 
harassed the enemy from the river, Pakenham resolved 
to obtain his artillery from his ships, to free himself 
from the two American vessels before he should begin his 

On December 27 his battery was ready, and he suc- 
ceeded in destroying the Carolina. The Louisiana was 
saved by being towed up. On December 26 Morgan was 
ordered to abandon English Turn and to take position on 
the right bank of the river. He had previously, by direc- 
tions of Jackson, cut the levee below Jumonville's plan- 
tation, and this measure turned out to be unfortunate. 
The river having risen, the canals were filled with 
sufficient water to enable the British to bring up heavy 
artillery. 4 

In the evening of December 27 the enemy advanced 
and occupied the Bienvenu and Chalmette plantations. 
They had several pieces of artillery, and on December 28 
began their march against Jackson's lines. A terrible fire 
from the Louisiana and from the batteries broke their col- 
umns, and they retreated to the Bienvenu plantation. 


Among the men who rendered efficient service on Decem- 
ber 28 were those of the artillery company of Dominique 
You, twenty former Baratarians and companions of 

On December 28 an unfortunate incident happened in 
New Orleans. Since the arrival of the British on Decem- 
ber 23 the Legislature had ceased to sit, 5 as all its mem- 
bers were engaged in the work of defense, either as 
soldiers in the field or in companies of veterans, or as 
members of relief committees. Every day, however, at 
noon, three or four members of the Senate and of the 
House met in their respective halls to effect an adjourn- 
ment. On December 28, the President of the Senate, 
Skipwith, and two members, on arriving at the govern- 
ment house, found on the staircase a sentinel, who forbade 
them to enter the Senate chamber, and at the same time 
presented his bayonet. The senators then went to the City 
Hall and effected the adjournment of their body. Sev- 
eral members of the House of Representatives were 
treated in the same manner as Skipwith and his col- 
leagues. On December 30 a quorum of both houses was 
procured, and a committee was appointed to call on Jack- 
son and ask for the reason of the measures taken against 
the Legislature. The general replied that just after the 
engagement had begun on December 28, one of his volun- 
teer aides, Colonel Duncan, informed him that he was the 
bearer of a message from Governor Claiborne to the ef- 
fect " that the Assembly were about to give up the coun- 
try to the enemy." Colonel Duncan said he had received 
the inteDigence from a militia colonel, Mr. Declouet, who 


had requested him to deliver the message. The general 
replied that "he did not believe the intelligence; but to 
desire the governor to make strict inquiry into the sub- 
ject ; and, if true, to blow them up." Colonel Duncan said 
Colonel Declouet did not say he was sent by Claiborne, 
and that " he (Duncan) meeting one of Claiborne's aides, 
directed him to inform the governor the general wished 
him to prevent the Legislature from assembling." The 
aide whom Duncan had met was Colonel Michel Fortier, 
Junior, who had friends and relatives in the Legislature. 
Colonel Fortier transmitted without comment Duncan's 
extraordinary order to Claiborne, who forthwith pre- 
vented the Legislature from assembling. An inquiry was 
made into these unusual proceedings, and a committee re- 
ported that the orders given by General Jackson had been 
perverted by Duncan, and that Declouet's conduct had 
been extravagant and he had yielded to chimerical fears. 
The committee also excused Jackson's message to Clai- 
borne, considering the circumstances in which the general 
received Duncan's information. We cannot share the 
committee's opinion. It seems to us that Jackson was not 
justified in using such harsh terms about a Legislature 
that had placed the whole resources of the State at the 
command of the general, and whose members had given 
many proofs of their patriotism as Louisianians and as 
Americans. He should not have believed the report of 
treason, or, if he believed it, he should have called Clai- 
borne's attention to it, and not have ordered the governor 
to " blow them up." Claiborne himself acted hastily and 
lacked judgment when he caused the doors of the As- 


sembly to be closed, and Duncan and Declouet displayed 
the most astonishing want of calmness and good sense. 
Jackson said he had replied to a committee that called 
upon him: " If I thought the hair of my head knew my 
thoughts, I would cut it off or burn it." It is unfortunate 
that he should have chosen, on December 28, to express 
his thoughts in very strong language, rather than to have 
kept them within his head. 

On December 29 Commodore Patterson placed two 
twelve-pounders and a twenty-pounder behind the levee 
on the right bank of the river, and this marine battery, 
manned by sailors from the Louisiana, rendered great 
service. Piernas Canal, which flows into Bayou Bienvenu, 
was guarded by Colonel Dejan's regiment of Louisiana 
militia, and General Villere took command of a second 
line established between Jackson's line and the city. On 
December 31 there were skirmishes and cannonading, and 
on January 1 a severe artillery battle took place, in which 
the British were again routed. On January 1 a troop of 
five hundred men of Louisiana militia arrived from Baton 
Rouge under General Philemon Thomas, and on January 
4 twenty-two hundred and fifty Kentucky militia ar- 
rived in New Orleans under the command of General 
John Thomas. Only five hundred and fifty were armed, 
and under General John Adair they marched to the 
American lines. On January 6 and 7 active preparations 
were made by the British for an attack, and on January 
8 took place the celebrated battle of New Orleans. 

Jackson had chosen his line of defense on December 
24; 7 it was along a canal forming the limits of the Rodri- 


guez and Chalmette plantations. A parapet was raised, 
lined with pales from fences, and the ditch was filled with 
water. The parapet was very irregular in thickness and 
height, in some places being twenty feet thick at the top 
and only five feet high, and in others very thin at the base. 
The line was about half a mile long toward the wood, and, 
turning to the left half a mile, ended in an almost impas- 
sable cypress swamp. Near the wood the breastwork was 
not thick enough to resist artillery, and was hardly high 
enough to protect the men. At that place the ground was 
so low that the troops walked knee-deep in mud, and the 
valiant men of Carroll and Coffee were " literally en- 
camped in the water." 

The American line was defended by eight batteries con- 
sisting of thirteen pieces of artillery. Battery No. 1 was 
seventy feet from the river, was commanded by Captain 
Humphreys of the United States artillery, and was 
served by regular artillery and Major St. Geme's dra- 
goons. Batteries Nos. 2 and 4, commanded by Lieuten- 
ants Norris and Crawley of the navy, were served by the 
crew of the Carolina. Battery No. 3 was commanded by 
Captains Dominique You and Beluche, the former priva- 
teers, and was served by French marines. Batteries Nos. 
5 and 7 were commanded by Colonel Perry and Lieu- 
tenant Kerr and by Lieutenants Chauveau and Spotts, 
and were served by gunners from the United States ar- 
tillery. Battery No. 6 was commanded by General Gar- 
rigues de Flaujac and Lieutenant Bertel and served by 
men from the company of the Francs. Battery No. 8 did 
little service, as it was in bad condition; its commander 


was a corporal of artillery, and the men were from Gen- 
eral Carroll's brigade. On the river was a redoubt de- 
fended by a company of the Seventh Regiment under 
Lieutenant Ross and an artillery detachment from the 
Forty-fourth under Lieutenant Marant. Near them was 
the New Orleans Volunteer Company of Riflemen; then 
came Major Peire's Seventh Regiment, Major Plauche's 
uniformed companies, Major Lacoste's and Major Da- 
quin's free men of color, and Captain Baker's Forty- 
fourth regiment. This whole corps was under the com- 
mand of Colonel Ross. Toward the right were Bellevue, 
Carroll, Adair, and Coffee. The cavalry consisted of the 
companies of Captains Ogden and Cheveau, Major 
Hinds, and a detachment of Attakapas dragoons. The 
number of the American troops was four thousand, but 
eight hundred men had been detached to guard the camp, 
the Piernas Canal, and the outskirts of the wood. Besides 
the line at Rodriguez Canal, Jackson had, as we have 
said, another intrenchment a mile and a half in the 
rear, and he had ordered a third line to be drawn nearer 
the cit3 r . 

We have seen that General Morgan had been sent from 
the English Turn to the right bank of the river, where an 
intrenchment had been begun by Major Latour, but was 
not completed. As it was probable that a simultaneous 
attack would be made by the British on both banks of the 
Mississippi, Jackson sent, on January 6, his aide, Colonel 
John R. Grymes, to make a report upon the condition of 
things on the right bank. Colonel Grymes advised Gen- 
eral Morgan to place himself behind the levee and oppose 


the landing of the enemy, 8 but the advice was not heeded. 
Commodore Patterson, on January 7, at night, observed 
from the right bank lines of soldiers on the levee, and per- 
ceived preparations for an attack. He therefore sent his 
volunteer aide, D. R. Shepherd, to ask for reinforcements 
for Morgan. Shepherd saw Jackson at one o'clock in 
the morning of January 8, and the general ordered Gen- 
eral Adair to send five hundred men from the Kentucky 
militia to Morgan's camp. The detachment was com- 
manded by Colonel Davis and arrived at Morgan's line at 
four o'clock in the morning. Davis had then only two 
hundred and fifty badly armed men. 9 The others had re- 
mained behind, exhausted with fatigue. The Kentuck- 
ians had eaten scarcely anything and had walked five 
miles in deep mud when they reached the American line 
on the right bank. They were then immediately ordered 
to advance against the enemy. Morgan's forces, on Janu- 
ary 8, were about eight hundred men. 

Colonel Thornton, who had been sent to attack Morgan 
on the right bank with four cannon and six hundred men, 
was delayed in crossing the river, but General Paken- 
ham did not wait for that movement. He began his 
march against the Americans before daybreak on January 
8, and the signal for attack was given with Congreve 
rockets. General Gibbs led the first column, with the 
Forty-fourth in front, toward the wood, and met with a 
terrible fire from the artillery of Garrigues de Flaujac 
and of Spotts and Chauveau, and the musketry of the 
Tennessee and Kentucky troops. The British Forty- 
fourth, commanded by Colonel Mullens, had not brought 


the fascines of sugar-cane and ladders, as ordered, and 
was sent to the rear to get them. This produced some 
confusion, but still the British column advanced bravely 
amidst " a constant rolling fire, whose tremendous noise 
resembled rattling peals of thunder." A detachment of 
the Forty-fourth arrived with ladders and fascines, led 
by Pakenham himself, but to no avail, for the gallant 
commander-in-chief was wounded in the arm, his horse 
was killed, several officers fell, and the column broke and 
retired to the rear. Keane advanced with his Highland- 
ers, and Gibbs's column was rallied and marched again to 
the front, the soldiers throwing down their knapsacks. 
The fire of the Americans had not slackened for one mo- 
ment, and the British were again repelled with great 
slaughter. Pakenham was again wounded and was car- 
ried off to the center of the field, where, under a large oak- 
tree, he soon died. Gibbs was mortally, and Keane se- 
verely wounded, and Major Wilkinson took command of 
the column. He succeeded in climbing up the breast- 
work, but was killed on reaching the summit. Such was 
also the fate of Colonel Rennie, who had attacked the 
right of the American line, had entered into the unfin- 
ished redoubt through the embrasures, and had bravely 
mounted the breastwork, followed by two of his officers. 
Rennie's column had advanced by the road and had driven 
in the American outposts. They were received with the 
tremendous fire of the New Orleans Riflemen and the 
Seventh Infantry and by the batteries of Humphreys, 
Norris, Dominique You, and Beluche. The column was 
forced back in disorder and with great loss. The marine 


battery on the right bank fired on Rennie's column until 
attacked by Thornton's detachment. 

According to Major Latour, the center of Jackson's 
line, at least eight hundred men, remained almost entirely 
inactive during the attack on the left and the right, as they 
were too far from the enemy. Plauche's brave Creoles 
could hardly be restrained from rushing to the left and 
to the right to fire at the invaders, who had insulted them 
by inviting them to betray their country. The batteries 
of the British did little harm, but kept the American bat- 
teries busy returning their fire. The fire of the musketry 
on the plain of Chalmette ceased by half -past eight in 
the morning. The slaughter of the enemy had been ter- 
rible. Major Latour, who was an eye-witness to the 
events he relates, says that " a space of ground extending 
from the ditch of our lines to that on which the enemy 
drew up his troops, two hundred and fifty yards in 
length, by about two hundred in breadth, was literally 
covered with men, either dead or severely wounded." 
The British had fought with the greatest bravery, but had 
been met with equal bravery by men who were defending 
their country and who displayed that wonderful skill in 
handling firearms for which the Americans have always 
been noted. The total loss of the British on both sides of 
the river was two thousand and thirty-six; that of the 
Americans was seventy-one. 10 

The rout of the British was hailed with loud cries of 
joy from Jackson's lines, and the American soldiers dis- 
played their humanity by caring for their wounded ene- 
mies. But the joy was changed into anxiety when it was 


known that Morgan's troops had been defeated, and that 
the British might advance against New Orleans from the 
right bank and attack Jackson from the rear. Morgan 
commanded some Louisiana and Kentucky militia, and 
was forced to retreat before Thornton's men. It appears 
that Morgan's defeat was caused principally by his unwise 
choice of his lines of defense on Raguet's Canal, as the 
works were only two hundred yards in length, and could 
be turned, the space to the right of the intrenchment being 
protected only by a ditch. The soldiers were all raw mi- 
litia and were poorly armed. The Kentuckians gave way 
almost at the first attack and fled in disorder, after Major 
Arnaud's one hundred men of the Sixth Louisiana mi- 
litia, placed as vanguard, had retreated also, and Thorn- 
ton followed them as far as Cazelard's Canal. Commo- 
dore Patterson reports that, having been abandoned by 
the force he relied upon to protect his battery, he had been 
" most reluctantly and with inexpressible pain," after de- 
stroying his powder and spiking his cannon, compelled to 
abandon them. During the night the British crossed the 
river and joined their comrades on the left bank. General 
Lambert, who had become commander-in-chief, had with- 
drawn Pakenham's defeated army from the battle-field. 
On hearing of the events on the right bank, Jackson or- 
dered General Humbert, a volunteer French officer, to go 
to Morgan's aid with four hundred militia and to take 
command of the troops and repel Thornton at any cost. 
The enemy, however, retired from his position before the 
Americans were prepared to renew the combat. 

On January 9 a British squadron consisting of two 


bomb-vessels, a brig, a schooner, and a sloop, which had 
passed the Balize, bombarded Fort St. Philip, of which 
the commander was Major Overton. The squadron was 
not able to pass the fort, and on January 18 descended the 

On January 19 the American army perceived that the 
British had retired from the Villere plantation. There 
had been no attack on either side since January 8, except 
some cannonading. A British physician brought a letter 
on January 9 from General Lambert, " informing Gen- 
eral Jackson that the army under his command had evacu- 
ated its position on the Mississippi, and for the present 
had relinquished every undertaking against New Orleans 
and its vicinity." 11 The British commander recom- 
mended to Jackson's humanity eighty wounded men 
whom he had not been able to remove. A few detach- 
ments from the American army were sent to harass the 
retreat of the enemy, who withdrew to their ships on 
January 27 and sailed away from Louisiana. Precau- 
tions were taken to protect the former encampment of the 
British, and the Second Militia Regiment, a detachment 
of Kentucky troops, and the Seventh Regiment were left 
to guard the Villere and Lacoste plantations and Jack- 
son's celebrated lines at Chalmette. The following letters, 
written by the victorious general to the Secretary of War, 
give Jackson's account of the battle of New Orleans. He 
speaks very severely of the conduct of the Kentuckians 
on the right bank, but these unfortunate soldiers have re- 
ceived milder treatment from Major Latour and from 
recent historians, who attribute their flight to their having 


been so poorly armed and exhausted by fatigue and want 
of food: 

Camp, Four Miles below Orleans, 

January 9th, 1815. 
Sir: During the days of the 6th and 7th the enemy had 
been actively employed in making preparations for an attack on 
my lines. With infinite labor they had succeeded on the night 
of the 7th in getting their boats across from the lake to the 
river, by widening and deepening the canal on which they had 
effected their disembarkation. It had not been in my power to 
impede these operations by a general attack — added to other 
reasons, the nature of the troops under my command, mostly 
militia, rendered it too hazardous to attempt extensive offensive 
movements in an open country against a numerous and well- 
disciplined army. Although my forces as to numbers had been 
increased by the arrival of the Kentucky division, my strength 
had received very little addition, a small portion only of that de- 
tachment being provided with arms. Compelled thus to wait the 
attack of the enemy, I took every measure to repel it when it 
should be made, and to defeat the object he had in view. General 
Morgan, with the Orleans contingent, the Louisiana militia, and 
a strong detachment of the Kentucky troops, occupied an in- 
trenched camp on the opposite side of the river, protected by 
strong batteries on the bank, erected and superintended by Com- 
modore Patterson. In my encampment everything was ready for 
action when, early on the morning of the 8th, the enemy, after 
throwing a heavy shower of bombs and Congreve rockets, advanced 
their columns on my right and left, to storm my intrenchments. 
I cannot speak sufficiently in praise of the firmness and delibera- 
tion with which my whole line received their approach. More 
could not have been expected from veterans inured to war. For 
an hour the fire of the small arms was as incessant and severe as 
can be imagined. The artillery, too, directed by officers who 


displayed equal skill and courage, did great execution. Yet the 
columns of the enemy continued to advance with a firmness which 
reflects upon them the greatest credit. Twice the column which 
approached me on my left was repulsed by the troops of General 
Carroll, those of General Coffee, and a division of the Kentucky 
militia, and twice they formed again and renewed the assault. At 
length, however, cut to pieces, they fled in confusion from the 
field, leaving it covered with their dead and wounded. The loss 
which the enemy sustained on this occasion cannot be estimated 
at less than fifteen hundred in killed, wounded, and prisoners. 
Upwards of three hundred have already been delivered over for 
burial; and my men are still engaged in picking them up within 
my lines, and carrying them to the point where the enemy are 
to receive them. This is in addition to the dead and wounded 
whom the enemy have been able to carry from the field during 
and since the action, and those who have since died of the wounds 
they received. We have taken about five hundred prisoners, up- 
wards of three hundred of whom are wounded, and a great part 
of them mortally. My loss has not exceeded, and I believe has 
not amounted to, ten killed and as many wounded The entire 
destruction of the enemy's army was now inevitable, had it not 
been for an unfortunate occurrence, which at this moment took 
place on the other side of the river. Simultaneously with his ad- 
vance upon my lines, he had thrown over in his boats a considerable 
force to the other side of the river. These, having landed, were 
hardy enough to advance against the works of General Morgan, 
and, what is strange and difficult to account for, at the very 
moment when their entire discomfiture was looked for with a con- 
fidence approaching to certainty, the Kentucky reinforcements, 
in whom so much reliance had been placed, ingloriously fled, draw- 
ing after them, by their example, the remainder of the forces, 
and thus yielding to the enemy that most formidable position. 
The batteries which had rendered me, for many days, the most 
important service, though bravely defended, were, of course, now 
abandoned; not, however, until the guns had been spiked. This 


unfortunate rout had totally changed the aspect of affairs. The 
enemy now occupied a position from which they might have been 
able to defeat, in a great measure, the effects of our success on 
this side the river. It became, therefore, an object of the first 
consequence to dislodge them as soon as possible. For this object 
all means in my power, which I could with any safety use, were 
immediately put in preparation. Perhaps, however, it was owing 
somewhat to another cause that I succeeded even beyond my ex- 
pectations. In negotiating the terms of a temporary suspension 
of hostilities to enable the enemy to bury their dead and provide 
for their wounded, I had required certain propositions to be ac- 
ceded to as a basis, among which this was one: that although 
hostilities should cease on this side the river until twelve o'clock 
of this day, yet it was not to be understood that they should cease 
on the other side; but that no reinforcements should be sent 
across by either army until the expiration of that day. His Ex- 
cellency Ma j or-General Lambert begged time to consider the 
propositions until ten o'clock of to-day, and in the mean time re- 
crossed his troops. I need not tell you with how much eagerness 
I immediately regained possession of the position he had thus hap- 
pily quitted. 

The enemy, having concentrated his forces, may again attempt 
to drive me from my position by storm. Whenever he does, I 
have no doubt my men will act with their usual firmness and sustain 
a character now become dear to them. 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Andrew Jackson. 12 

Camp, Four Miles below New Orleans, 

January 13, 1815. 

Sir : At such a crisis I conceive it my duty to keep you con- 
stantly advised of my situation. 

On the 10th instant I forwarded you an account of the bold 
attempt made by the enemy, on the morning of the 8th, to take 


possession of my work by storm, and of the severe repulse which 
he met with. That report, having been sent by the mail which 
crosses the lake, may possibly have miscarried; for which reason 
I think it the more necessary briefly to repeat the substance of it. 

Early on the morning of the 8th the enemy, having been actively 
employed the two preceding days in making preparations for a 
storm, advanced in two strong columns on my right and left. 
They were received, however, with a firmness which it seems they 
little expected, and which defeated all their hopes. My men, un- 
disturbed by their approach, which indeed they had long anx- 
iously wished for, opened upon them a fire so deliberate and cer- 
tain as rendered their scaling-ladders and fascines, as their more 
direct implements of warfare, perfectly useless. For upwards of 
an hour it was continued with a briskness of which there have 
been but few instances, perhaps, in any country. In justice to 
the enemy it must be said they withstood it as long as could have 
been expected from the most determined bravery. At length, 
however, when all prospects of success became hopeless, they 
fled in confusion from the field; leaving it covered with their 
dead and wounded. Their loss was immense. I had first com- 
puted it at fifteen hundred; it is since ascertained to have been 
much greater. Upon information which is believed to be cor- 
rect, Colonel Hayne, the inspector-general, reports it to be 
in the total two thousand six hundred. His report I inclose 
you. My loss was inconsiderable, bJng only seven killed and six 
wounded. 13 Such a disproportion in loss, when we consider the 
number and the kind of troops engaged, must, I know, excite 
astonishment, and may not everywhere be fully credited; yet 
I am perfectly satisfied that the account is not exaggerated on the 
one part, nor underrated on the other. 

The enemy having hastily quitted a post which they had gained 
possession of on the other side of the river, and we having im- 
mediately returned to it, both armies at present occupy their 
former positions. Whether, after the severe loss he has sustained, 
he is preparing to return to his shipping or to make still mightier 


efforts to attain his first object, I do not pretend to determine. 
It becomes me to act as though the latter were his intention. 
One thing, however, seems certain, that if he still calculates on 
effecting what he has hitherto been unable to accomplish, he must 
expect considerable reinforcements, as the force with which he 
landed must undoubtedly be diminished by at least three thousand. 
Besides the loss which he sustained on the night of the 23rd ult.,. 
which is estimated at four hundred, he cannot have suffered less 
between that period and the morning of the 8th inst. than three 
hundred, having, within that time, been repulsed in two general 
attempts to drive us from our position, and there having been 
continued cannonading and skirmishing during the whole of it. 
Yet he is still able to show a very formidable force. 

There is little doubt that the commanding general, Sir Edward 
Pakenham, was killed in the action of the 8th, and that Major- 
Generals Keane and Gibbs were badly wounded. 

Whenever a more leisure moment shall occur, I will take the 
liberty to make out and forward you a more circumstantial ac- 
count of the several actions, and particularly that of the 8th, in 
doing which my chief motive will be to render justice to those 
brave men I have the honor to command, and who have so remark- 
ably distinguished themselves. 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Andrew Jackson. 

P.S. — A correct list of my killed and wounded will be forwarded 
you by the adjutant-general. 

On January 21 the victorious general returned to New 
Orleans with the remainder of his troops. The men who 
had valiantly defended their country were received with 
enthusiasm by the inhabitants of a city which had been 
protected from a formidable invader. The new State, 
through which flows the great and beautiful Mississippi, 
proved in 1814 and 1815 that she was worthy of her older 


sisters, and the American Union had no cause to regret 
having added the star of Louisiana to her galaxy. 

In his " Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres " Nolte 
makes the following statement about cotton bales having 
been used by Jackson in his intrenchments : 

The General wished to erect five or six redoubts along the 
Macarty Canal, but the miriness of the soil rendered all exertions 
utterly fruitless. A French engineer then suggested to Jackson 
the idea of filling up the hollowed redoubts with cotton bales, laid, 
to the depth of three or four, one above the other. The wooden 
platforms which were to sustain the heavy cannon, which had been 
dragged from the arsenal, could then be placed upon the cotton 
bales, and there secured, while the crenellated openings on both 
sides of the redoubt could be constructed with six or eight bales 
fastened to the main body of the redoubt by iron rings and cov- 
ered with adhesive earth. 

Nolte says that the cotton bales referred to, two hundred 
and fifty in number, were his own property and were rec- 
ognized by him on the battle-field. Major Latour, how- 
ever, does not mention the cotton bales in his minute de- 
scription of Jackson's lines as they were on January 8. 

The following general orders are highly interesting and 
are quoted in full, in order that all the valiant men who 
took part in the campaign may receive the full praise they 
deserve : 

Headquartes, Seventh Military District, Camp below New 
Orleans, Adjutant-General's Office, 

January 21. 
Before the camp at these memorable lines shall be broken up, 
the General thinks it a duty to the brave army which has de- 


fended them, publicly to notice the conduct of the different corps 
which compose it. The behavior of the regular troops, consisting 
of parts of the Seventh and Forty-fourth regiments of infantry, 
and the corps of marines, all commanded by Colonel Ross, has been 
such as to merit his warm approbation. The Seventh Regiment 
was led by Major Peire, and the Forty-fourth by Captain Baker, 
in the action of the 23rd, in a manner that does those officers the 
highest honor. They have continued through the campaign to do 
their duty with the same zeal and ability with which it was com- 
menced. On that occasion the country lost a valuable officer in 
the death of Lieutenant McClellan of the Seventh Infantry, who 
fell while bravely leading his company. Lieutenant Dupuy of 
the Forty-fourth, although severely wounded in this action, re- 
turned in time to take a share in all the subsequent attacks. 

To the Tennessee mounted gun-men, and to the gallant leader, 
Brigadier-General Coffee, the General presents his warmest thanks, 
not only for their ' uniform good conduct in action, but for the 
wonderful patience with which they have borne the fatigue and 
the perseverance with which they surmounted the difficulties of 
a most painful march, in order to meet the enemy — a diligence 
and zeal to which we owe the salvation of the country. Ordinary 
activity would have brought them too late to act the brilliant part 
they have performed in the defeat of our invaders. All the 
officers of that corps have distinguished themselves ; but the Gen- 
eral cannot avoid mentioning the name of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Lauderdale, who fell on the night of the 23rd, and those of 
Colonels Dyer, Gibson, and Elliot, who were wounded, but, dis- 
daining personal considerations, remained firm to their duty. 

The cavalry from the Mississippi Territory, under the enter- 
prising leader Major Hinds, was always ready to perform every 
service which the nature of the country enabled them to execute. 
The daring manner in which the}' reconnoitered the enemy on his 
lines excited the admiration of one army and the astonishment of 
the other. 

Major-General Carroll, commanding the detachment of West 


Tennessee militia, has shown the greatest zeal for the service, a 
strict attention to duty, and an ability and courage that will al- 
ways recommend him to the gratitude of his country. His troops 
have, since the lines were formed, occupied and defended the 
weakest part of them, and borne without a murmur an encamp- 
ment on a marshy and unhealthy soil. In the memorable action 
of the 8th January, the chief effort of the enemy was directed 
against them, but their valor, and that of the brav3 men who 
supported them (General Coffee's brigade on the left and a part 
of the Kentucky troops on the right), soon made it clear that a 
rampart of high-minded men is a better defence than the most 
regular fortification. 

General Adair, who, owing to the indisposition of General 
Thomas, brought up the Kentucky militia, has shown that troops 
will always be valiant when their leaders are so. No men ever 
displayed a more gallant spirit than these did under that most 
valuable officer. His country is under obligation to him. 

The General would be ungrateful or insensible to merit, if he 
did not particularly notice the conduct of the officers or men who 
so bravely supported and so skilfully directed his artillery. 
Colonel M'Rea, in the action of the 23rd, showed, as he always 
does, great courage. Lieutenant Spotts, under whose immediate 
direction our artillery had been placed, led it to action with a 
daring courage worthy of admiration. Captain Humphreys com- 
manded the first battery on our right. The service is greatly 
indebted to that officer, not only for the able and gallant manner 
in which he directed his fire, but for the general activity he dis- 
played in his department. Lieutenant Norris of the navy, with 
Mr. Walker Martin and a detachment of seamen, was stationed 
at the second battery, and Lieutenant Crawley, with Mr. W. Liv- 
ingston (master's mate), with a similar detachment, was sta- 
tioned at a thirty-two pounder, which was remarkably well 
directed. They performed their duty with the zeal and bravery 
which has always characterized the navy of the United States. 
Captains Dominique You and Beluche, lately commanding 


privateers at Barataria, with part of their former crew and many 
brave citizens of New Orleans, were stationed at Nos. 3 and 4. 
The General cannot avoid giving his warm approbation of the 
manner in which these gentlemen have uniformly conducted them- 
selves while under his command, and of the gallantry with which 
they have redeemed the pledge they gave at the opening of the 
campaign to defend the country. The brothers Lafitte have ex- 
hibited the same courage and fidelity; and the General promises 
that the Government shall be duly apprised of their conduct. 
Colonel Perr3', deputy quartermaster-general, volunteered his 
services at No. 6. He was ably aided by Lieutenant Kerr of the 
artillery; his battery was well served, bravely supported, and 
greatly annoyed the enemy. Nos. 8 and 9 were directed by 
Lieutenant Spotts with his usual skill and bravery, assisted by 
Mr. Chauveau. 

The General takes the highest pleasure in noticing the conduct 
of General Garrigues de Flaujac, commanding one of the brigades 
of militia of this State, and member of the Senate. His brigade 
not being in the field as the invasion was known, he repaired to the 
camp and offered himself as a volunteer for the service of a piece 
of artillery, which he directed with the skill which was to be 
expected from an experienced artillery officer; disdaining the ex- 
emption afforded by his seat in the Senate, he continued in this 
subordinate but honorable station, and by his example as well as 
his exertion has rendered essential services to his country. Mr. 
Sebastian Hiriart, of the same body, set the same example, served 
a considerable time in the ranks of the volunteer battalion, and 
afterward as adjutant of the colored troops. Major Plauche's 
battalion of volunteers, though deprived of the valuable services 
of Major Carmac, 14 who commanded them, by a wound which that 
officer received in the attack of the 28th of December, have realized 
all the anticipations which the General had formed of their con- 
duct. Major Plauche and Major St. Geme, of that corps, have 
distinguished themselves by their activity, their courage, and their 
zeal, and the whole corps have greatly contributed to enable the 


General to redeem the pledge he gave, when at the opening of the 
campaign he promised the country not only safety, but a splendid 
triumph over the insolent invaders. The two corps of colored 
volunteers have not disappointed the hopes that were formed of 
their courage and perseverance in the performance of their duty. 
Majors Lacoste and Daquin, who commanded them, have deserved 
well of the country. Captain Savary's conduct has been noticed 
in the account rendered of the battle of the 23rd, and that officer 
has since continued to merit the highest praise. Captain Beale's 
company of the city riflemen has sustained by its subsequent con- 
duct the reputation it acquired in the action of the 23rd. Colonel 
de La Ronde, of the Louisiana militia, has been extremely service- 
able by his exertions, and has shown great courage and a uniform 
attachment to the cause of the country. 

General Humbert, who offered his services as a volunteer, has 
continually exposed himself to the greatest dangers, with his 
characteristic bravery, as has also the Mexican field-marshal, Don 
Juan de Anaya, who acted in the same capacity. The General 
acknowledges the important assistance he has received from Com- 
modore Patterson, as well by his professional exertion, as the 
zealous cooperation of his detachment during the whole course of 
the campaign. Captain Henley, on board of the Carolina, and 
afterward in directing the erection of several batteries at the 
bayou and on the right bank of the river, was of great utility to 
the army. Lieutenant Alexis, of the navy, stationed in the navy 
arsenal, was indefatigable in exertions to forward to the army 
everything which could facilitate its operations. His zeal and 
activity deserve the notice of the government. Major Nicks, who 
by an accidental wound was deprived of the pleasure of command- 
ing the Seventh Regiment during the campaign, was continually 
employed in the fort and furnished the ammunition and the artil- 
lery that were wanted, with the greatest activity and promptitude. 
To the volunteers of the Mississippi Territory, and to the militia 
of the remote parts of this State who have arrived since the de- 
cisive action of the 8th, the General tenders his thanks, and is 


convinced that nothing but opportunity was wanting to entitle 
them to the praises that have been merited by the rest of the army. 
Captain Ogden's troop of horse was particularly useful by their 
local knowledge of the ground on which they acted ; and the 
small detachment of the Attakapas dragoons, stationed near head- 
quarters, were indefatigable in performing all the duties which 
devolved on them. 

The General would not do justice to his staff if he did not 
bestow deserved praise on the adjutant-general, Colonel Butler, 
and his assistant, Major Chotard, for their zeal and activity in 
the important department of service confided to them, and for 
the bravery which led them wherever danger or duty required 
their presence. The vigilance, courage, and attention to duty 
exhibited during the campaign by Colonel Haynes and his two 
assistants, Majors Davis and Hampton, have been appreciated as 
they deserved to be by the General. 

The General's aides-de-camp, Thomas L. Butler and Captain 
John Reid, as well as his volunteer aides, Messrs. Livingston, Dun- 
can, Grymes, Duplessis, and Major Davezac de Castera, the judge- 
advocate, have merited the thanks of the General by the calm 
and deliberate courage they have displayed on every occasion 
and in every situation that called it forth. The topographical 
engineer, Major Tatum, exhibited all the ardor of youth in the 
hour of peril, united to the experience acquired by his long 
services. The chief engineer, Major Lacarriere Latour, has been 
useful to the army by his talents and bravery. The same praises 
are due to his assistants, Captain Lewis Livingston and Mr. La- 
trobe. The medical staff has merited well of the country, and 
the General would not do justice to his own feelings were he to 
withhold from Dr. Kerr, hospital surgeon, who volunteered his 
services, and Dr. Flood, the just tribute of applause deserved by 
them for their medical skill and personal bravery. The quarter- 
master's department, though deprived of the personal exertions of 
Colonel Pratt, who was wounded in the night of the 23rd, per- 
formed well their duties. Major-General Villere and Brigadier 


General Morgan have merited the approbation of the General by 
their unwearied attention since they took the field. 

The large mortar was ably directed by Captain Lefebvre and 
by Mr. Gilbert. Captain Blanchard was very useful as an engi- 
neer, and merits the General's praise for the celerity and skill 
with which he erected the battery which now commands the river, 
on the right of the camp. Mr. Bosquet and Mr. Ducoin, of 
Major St. Geme's company, displayed great knowledge and dex- 
terity as artillerists. To the whole army the General presents the 
assurance of his official approbation, and his individual regard. 
This splendid campaign will be considered as entitling every man 
who has served in it to the salutation of his brother in arms. 

By command, 

Robert Butler, 

Adjutant-General. 1 5 

George Robert Gleig, a British officer, author of " The 
Subaltern," has given a very interesting and impartial 
narrative of the campaigns of 1814 and 1815. Speaking 
of the battle-field of January 8, he says : 

Of all the sights I ever witnessed, that which met me there 
was beyond comparison the most shocking, and the most humili- 
ating. Within the narrow compass of a few hundred yards were 
gathered together nearly a thousand bodies, all of them arrayed 
in British uniforms. Not a single American was among them ; all 
were English. 

The author attributes this disaster at New Orleans to 
three serious errors : The first was the delay in marching 
against the city with the sixteen hundred men who had 
reached Villere's plantation on December 23. The second 
error was the selection of the schooner Carolina for de- 


struction instead of the ship Louisiana. The third was the 
delay in bringing on a general action. It was also an 
error to withdraw the troops of Thornton from the right 
bank after Morgan's defeat on January 8. In the whole 
war, adds Gleig, " we shall find little that is likely to 
flatter our vanity or increase our self-importance." The 
cause of the misfortunes of the British was, according to 
him, that they had been habituated to despise the Ameri- 
cans and to consider them an enemy unworthy of serious 
regard. Jackson taught them a lesson which they have 
not forgotten. 


After the Battle 

Thanksgiving at the cathedral— Jackson's letter to Mayor Girod— The Legis- 
lature omits Jackson's name in its vote of thanks to the soldiers— The 
British capture Fort Bowyer— Jackson's unjust treatment of the French 
in Louisiana— Louallier's letter criticizing Jackson— Arrest of Louallier and 
of Judge Hall— Order to arrest Hollander— Orders to arrest Lewis and 
Dick— Jackson condemned to pay a fine of one thousand dollars— President 
Madison praises the Louisianians— Resolutions of Congress— Resolutions 
of the Legislature of Louisiana— Bernard Marigny's " Reflections on the 
Campaign of Jackson." 

X January 19, 1815, Jackson had 
written the following letter to the 
Rev. Abbe Dubourg, administrator 
apostolic of the diocese of Louisiana : 

Reverend Sir: The signal interposi- 
tion of Heaven, in giving success to our 
arms against the enemy who so lately landed on our shores, an 
enemy as powerful as inveterate in his hatred, while it must excite 
in every bosom attached to the happy government under which 
we live emotions of the liveliest gratitude, requires at the same time 
some external manifestation of those feelings. Permit me, there- 
fore, to entreat that you will cause the service of public thanks- 
giving to be performed in the cathedral, in token of the great 
assistance we have received from the Ruler of all events, and of 
our humble sense of it. 

With the greatest respect, 

Andrew Jackson. 



January 23 was chosen for thanksgiving, and the day 
was celebrated with great pomp. A triumphal arch sup- 
ported by six columns was erected in the middle of the 
square opposite the cathedral, and Plauche's uniformed 
companies lined both sides of the way from the entrance 
of the square toward the river to the cathedral. On the 
right of the arch was a young lady representing Justice, 
and on the left one representing Liberty. Two young 
children holding a crown of laurel stood under the arch, 
each on a pedestal, and from the arch young ladies were 
ranged to represent the States and Territories. They 
were dressed in white, wore a silver star on their fore- 
heads, and were covered with transparent veils. Each 
young girl held in her right hand a flag inscribed with the 
name of the State she represented, and in her left hand 
a basket adorned with blue ribbons and filled with flowers. 
A shield, suspended from a lance fixed in the ground, 
bore the name of the State or Territory represented by 
the girl. The shields were linked together with verdant 
festoons and extended from the arch to the cathedral. 
General Jackson entered the square with his staff, from 
the side fronting the river, and was received with salvos 
of artillery. When he passed under the arch the two little 
children presented to him the crown of laurel, and Miss 
Kerr, who represented Louisiana, congratulated him in 
an address. He then advanced toward the church, and 
the young ladies representing the States and Territories 
saluted him and strewed flowers in his path. The Abbe 
Dubourg received him at the entrance of the church and 
delivered a beautiful and patriotic address, in which he 


thanked God for Jackson's splendid and uninterrupted 
victories. The general replied very modestly, and thanked 
Abbe Dubourg for the prayers that were offered up for 
his happiness. He said he received with pleasure, in the 
name of his soldiers, the symbolic crown that piety had 
prepared, and he added that it was a source of the most 
exquisite enjoyment to him that the deliverance of the 
country had been effected with so little loss, and that not 
a cypress leaf was interwoven in the wreath presented 
to him. He was then conducted to a seat near the altar, 
and an impressive Te Deum was chanted. A guard of 
honor accompanied General Jackson to his quarters, and 
the town and suburbs were magnificently illuminated in 
the evening. The ceremonies in the square had been wit- 
nessed by throngs of people. 

During the stay of the British in Louisiana they had 
carried off the cattle of plantations on the banks of the 
Mississippi and at Terre-aux-Boeufs, and one hundred 
and ninety-nine negroes, whom they never returned to 
their owners, in spite of the representations made to them. 
General Jackson took all precautions necessary to pro- 
tect the State from a return of the enemy, and troops were 
distributed at all the important posts. General Stephen 
A. Hopkins was placed at Lafourche, and at the Temple 
at Barataria, the former abode of Lafitte and his men, 
Major Reynolds was posted. At Lake Tigouyou was 
a regiment of valiant Creoles under Colonel Alexandre 
La Branche. Jackson wrote letters to Major General 
Villere urging him to "induce all those who take the 
proper military pride to avail themselves of the occasion 


of inflicting a last blow on our enemy." General Villere 
commanded at Camp Villere at Chalmette, and Colonel 
Denis de La Ronde was second in command. On January 
29, 1815, General Villere wrote in French the following 
energetic and noble letter to the commander of the forces 
of His Britannic Majesty lately stationed on the left 
bank of the Mississippi : 

Sir : I saw with calmness the excess of which the army that you 
commanded rendered itself guilty. I was not even astonished at 
the carrying off of my negroes. The conduct of the English in 
the rest of the Union was known to me, but I was seized with 
grief when my son, whose candor and inexperience you abused 
to send me four hundred and ninety dollars — which one of the 
commissaries of your army handed him by your order for the pay- 
ment of my cattle, horses, furniture, and other objects — presented 
to me that sum, and I trembled with indignation at an outrage of 
which I had no idea. Maj or-General Jackson consents, at my 
prayer, to send to you that money, to my eyes as despicable as 
your way of acting is humiliating. You will not change conduct 
for that, I know, but at least you will know the character of the 
man whom you have offended. 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Jacques Villere, 

Ma j or-Genera I . * 

General Villere attended very diligently to the militia 
after the departure of the British from the banks of the 
Mississippi on January 19. Among other things he wrote 
to Colonel Alexandre La Branche, who commanded the 
Fifth Regiment of Louisiana militia, to be very vigilant 
at Tigouyou, and he praised the zeal and activity which 


the colonel had displayed throughout the campaign. 
From the 8th of January the levy en masse of the mili- 
tia had been arriving by companies every day, 2 and by the 
end of January, according to the opinion of Major La- 
tour, Louisiana was in a condition to defy double the 
force by which she had first been attacked. 

On January 27, 1815, General Jackson wrote a letter 
to the mayor of New Orleans, Nicholas Girod, to thank 
him for the services he had rendered in the time of peril, 
and to make public acknowledgment of the merits of the 
citizens of New Orleans. He said their courage and for- 
titude were not more to be admired than their humane 
attention to the sick and wounded, Americans and 

Seldom in any community has so much cause been given for de- 
served praise ; while the young were in the field, and arrested the 
progress of the foe, the aged watched over the city, and main- 
tained its internal peace ; and even the softer sex encouraged their 
husbands and brothers to remain at the post of danger and duty. 
Not content with exerting for the noblest purpose that powerful 
influence which is given them by nature (and which in your coun- 
trywomen is rendered irresistible by accomplishments and beauty), 
they showed themselves capable of higher efforts, and, actuated 
by humanity and patriotism, they clothed by their own labor, and 
protected from the inclemency of the season, the men who had 
marched from a distant State to protect them from insults. In 
the name of those brave men, I beg you, sir, to convey to them 
the tribute of our admiration and thanks; assure them that the 
distant wives and daughters of those whom they have succored 
will remember them in their prayers, and that for myslf no cir- 
cumstance of this important campaign touches me with more 
exquisite pleasure than that I have been enabled to lead back to 


them, with so few exceptions, the husbands, brothers, and other 
relatives of whom such women only are worthy. 

I anticipate, sir, with great satisfaction, the period when the 
final departure of the enemy will enable you to resume the ordinal 
functions of your office, and restore the citizens to their usual 
occupations. They have merited the blessings of peace by bravely 
facing the dangers of war. I should be ungrateful or insensible 
if I did not acknowledge the marks of confidence and affectionate 
attachment with which I have personally been honored by your 
citizens ; a confidence that has enabled me with greater success to 
direct the measures for their defence ; an attachment which I sin- 
cerely reciprocate, and which I shall carry with me to the grave. 

For yourself, Mr. Mayor, I pray you to accept my thanks for 
the very great zeal, integrity, and diligence with which you have 
conducted the arduous department of the police committed to 
your care, and the promptitude with which every requisition for 
the public service has been carried into effect. 

Connected with the United States, your city must become the 
greatest emporium of commerce that the world has known. In 
the hands of any other power it can be nothing but a wretched 
colony. May your citizens always be as sensible of this great truth 
as they have shown themselves at present ; may they always make 
equal efforts to preserve the important connection; and may you 
sir, long live to witness the prosperity, wealth, and happiness that 
will then inevitably characterize the great seaport of the western 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Andrew Jackson. 

On February 2, 1815, the Legislature voted thanks to 
" our brave soldiers from Tennessee, Kentucky, and the 
Mississippi Territory, and their gallant leaders," and 
Governor Claiborne inclosed the resolution in letters that 
he wrote to Generals John Thomas, Carroll, Coffee, and 


Adair, and to Colonel Hinds. In the resolution no men- 
tion had been made of General Jackson, and in his an- 
swer to Governor Claiborne, General Coffee used the 
following expressions: 

While we indulge the pleasing emotions that are thus produced, 
we should be guilty of great injustice, as well to merit as to our 
own feelings, if we withheld from the commander-in-chief, to 
whose wisdom and exertions we are so much indebted for our suc- 
cesses, the expression of our highest admiration and applause. To 
his firmness, his skill, his gallantry — to that confidence and 
unanimity among all ranks produced by those qualities — we must 
chiefly ascribe the splendid victories in which we esteem it a 
happiness and an honor to have borne a part. 

These words of Jackson's brave lieutenant were a re- 
buke to the Legislature for their apparent ingratitude in 
ignoring the signal services of the victorious general. 
The probable reason for this neglect was Jackson's in- 
terference with the Assembly on December 28. Alexan- 
der Walker, however, who expresses great admiration 
for Jackson in his book, says that " a sense of dignity 
more than a want of gratitude prompted this omission," 3 
and he adds : 

The calumny has obtained a place in all the volumes written 
in reference to this affair, that the Legislature had really dis- 
cussed and considered the expediency of surrendering the State 
to the British. There is not a tittle of proof to sustain this 
charge. ... It is not necessary to the greatness or fame of 
Jackson that the population of New Orleans should be calumniated 
and falsely accused. It is time, indeed, that those who have com- 
mitted the error of logic, of truth and justice, should acknow- 


ledge and retract a slander and suspicion so peculiarly unjust 
and inapplicable to the city which gave the most brilliant proof 
of loyalty and devotion to the Union and Republic that can be 
found in history. 

The Legislature adjourned on February 6, 1815. On 
the same day the British fleet was seen off Dauphine Isl- 
and, 4 and on the 7th, twenty-five vessels and thirteen 
ships of the line cast anchor at a short distance from Fort 
Bowyer. Troops were landed, batteries were erected, and 
the siege was begun. On February 12 Colonel Lawrence 
was compelled to capitulate, and the Americans evacu- 
ated the fort. The glory gained by the British on this 
occasion was inconsiderable, according to Major Latour's 

General Jackson's energy and determination on the 
battle-field appear to have been changed to a spirit of 
despotism after the victory had been won. His treatment 
of the French inhabitants of Louisiana, and of Judge 
Hall, evinces an arbitrary use of power which certainly 
deserves our condemnation. Our chief guide for the his- 
tory of that period is Judge Martin, whose narrative is 
eminently impartial and sensible. 5 

On February 13, the day after the capture of Fort 
Bowyer by the British, Admiral Cochrane wrote to Gen- 
eral Jackson that he had received news that a treaty of 
peace had been signed at Ghent. General Jackson an- 
nounced the event to the people and to the army, but 
warned them not to slacken their vigilance, as the infor- 
mation might be a snare. On February 22 a copy of a 
Charleston newspaper reached the city and confirmed the 


news. Before the tidings of peace had been received the 
general opinion in Jackson's army was that the enemy 
would never return, and several Frenchmen who had 
taken up arms with the approval of Tousard, their consul, 
were desirous of returning to their homes, now that all 
appearance of danger had vanished. Their families were 
in want, in spite of the rations of bread and meat that the 
City Council had distributed among the needy. Some 
asked to be discharged by their officers, but Jackson re- 
fused his consent. Thereupon many Frenchmen ob- 
tained from their consul a certificate of their nationality, 
which, after being countersigned by the general, enabled 
them to leave the army. After a short time Jackson be- 
lieved that the certificates were granted too easily by Tou- 
sard, and he ordered him out of New Orleans. On Feb- 
ruary 28 he ordered all the Frenchmen who possessed 
certificates of their nationality, signed by the consul and 
countersigned by the commander-in-chief, to retire above 
Baton Rouge. After three days the names of such per- 
sons remaining in the city were to be taken. This order 
was cruel and unjust, and at the same time impolitic, 
for some of the Frenchmen had rendered great services 
as artillerymen and would be very useful, in case there 
was a renewal of hostilities, which Jackson deemed prob- 
able. Some of the best-known citizens of New Orleans 
endeavored to persuade the general to rescind his order, 
but to no avail. The Frenchmen were then advised to re- 
main quietly in the city, and were assured that they 
would be protected in their rights. Copies of Northern 
newspapers reached New Orleans at that time, announc- 


ing that the treaty of peace had been received in Wash- 
ington, and it was hoped that Jackson would not insist 
on the execution of his order of expulsion. He per- 
sisted, however, and the Frenchmen who had become 
American citizens believed then that he was actuated by 
feelings of dislike against the French population. Louis 
Louallier, a member of the Legislature, who had dis- 
played activity, zeal, and great patriotism, and who was 
persuaded that the treaty of peace would be immediately 
ratified by the Senate, published in the " Courrier de la 
Louisiane " of March 3, 1815, the following " Commu- 
nication " : 

Mr. Editor: To remain silent on the last general orders, 
directing all the Frenchmen who now reside in New Orleans to 
leave it within three days, and to keep at a distance of one hun- 
dred and twenty miles from it, would be an act of cowardice, 
which ought not to be expected from a citizen of a free country ; 
and when every one laments such an abuse of authority, the press 
ought to denounce it to the people. In order to encourage a com- 
munication between both countries, the seventh and eighth articles 
of the treaty of cession secure, to the French who shall come to 
Louisiana, certain commercial advantages, which they are to 
enjoy during a term of twelve years, which are not yet expired. 
At the expiration of that time, they shall be treated in the same 
manner as the most favored nation — a peace which nothing is 
likely to disturb, uniting both nations. The French have until 
this moment been treated in the United States with that regard 
which a great people deserves and requires, even in its reverses, 
and with that good will which so eminently distinguishes the 
American Government in its relations with foreign nations. In 
such circumstances, what can be the motives which have induced 
the commander-in-chief of the 7th district to issue general orders 


of so vexatious a nature? When the foreigners of every nation, 
when the Spaniards, and even the English, are permitted to re- 
main unmolested among us, shall the French alone be condemned 
to ostracism because they rendered too great services? Had they 
remained idle spectators of the last events, could their sentiments 
toward us be doubted, then we might merely be surprised at the 
course now followed in regard to them. But now, are we to restrain 
our indignation, when we remember that these very Frenchmen who 
are now exiled, have so powerfully contributed to the preservation 
of Louisiana? Without speaking of the corps who so eminently 
distinguished themselves, and in which we see a number of French- 
men rank either as officers or privates, how can we forget that they 
were French artillerists who directed and served a part of those 
pieces of cannon which so greatly annoyed the British forces? 
Can any flatter himself that such important services could have 
so soon been forgotten? No, they are engraved in everlasting 
characters on the hearts of all the inhabitants of Louisiana, and 
they shall form a brilliant part in the history of their country; 
and when those brave men ask no other reward but being permitted 
peaceably to enjoy among us the rights secured to them by treaties 
and the laws of America, far from sharing in the sentiments 
which have dictated the general orders, we avail ourselves of this 
opportunity to give them a public testimony of our gratitude. 

Far from us be the idea that there is a single Frenchman so 
pusillanimous as to forsake his country merely to please the mili- 
tary commander of this district, and in order to avoid the proscrip- 
tion to which he has chosen to condemn them; we may, therefore, 
expect to see them repair to the consul of their nation, there 
to renew the act which binds them to their countr} 7 . But sup- 
posing that, yielding to a sentiment of fear, they should consent 
to cease to be French citizens, would they> by such an abjuration, 
become American citizens? No, certainly they would not; the 
man who would be powerful enough to denationalize them, would 
not be powerful enough to give them a country. It is better, 
therefore, for a man to remain a faithful Frenchman, than to suf- 


fer himself to be scared even by martial law, a law useless when the 
presence of the foe and honor call us to arms, but which becomes 
degrading when their shameful flight suffers us to enjoy a 
glorious rest, which fear and terror ought not to disturb. 

But could it be possible that the constitution and laws of our 
country should have left it in the power of the several commanders 
of military districts to dissolve all at once the ties of friendship 
which unite America to the nations of Europe? Would it be 
possible that peace or war could depend upon their caprice and 
the friendship or enmity they might entertain for any nation? 
We do not hesitate in declaring that nothing of the kind exists. 
The President alone has, by law, the right to adopt against alien 
enemies such measures as a state of war may render necessary, 
and for that purpose he must issue a proclamation ; but this is a 
power he cannot delegate. It is by virtue of that law, and a 
proclamation, that the subjects of Great Britain were removed 
from our seaports and seashores. We do not know any law au- 
thorizing General Jackson to apply to alien friends a measure 
which the President of the United States, himself, has onty the 
right to adopt against alien enemies. 

Our laws protect strangers who come to settle or reside among 
us. To the sovereign alone belongs the right of depriving them 
of that protection, and all those who know how to appreciate the 
title of an American citizen, and who are acquainted with their 
prerogatives, will easily understand that by the sovereign I do 
by no means intend to designate a major-general, or any other 
military commander, to whom I willingly grant the power of 
issuing general orders like the one in question, but to whom I 
deny that of having them executed. 

If the last general order has no object but to inspire us with 
a salutary fear ; if it is only destined to be read ; if it is not to 
be followed by any act of violence; if it is only to be obeyed by 
those who may choose to leave the city in order to enjoy the pure 
air of the country, we shall forget that extraordinary order; but 
should anything else happen, we are of opinion that the tribunals 


will, sooner or later, do justice to the victims of that illegal 

Every alien friend who shall continue to respect the laws which 
rule our country, shall continue to be entitled to their protec- 
tion. Could that general order be applied to us, we should calmly 
wait until we were forced by violence to execute it, well convinced 
of the firmness of the magistrates, who are the organs of the laws 
in this part of the Union, and the guardians of public order. 

Let us conclude by saying, that it is high time the laws should 
resume their empire ; that the citizens of this State should return 
to the full enjoyment of their rights; that in acknowledging that 
we are indebted to General Jackson for the preservation of our 
city and the defeat of the British, we do not feel much inclined, 
through gratitude, to sacrifice any of our privileges, and, less 
than any other, that of expressing our opinion about the acts 
of his administration ; that it is time the citizens accused of any 
crime should be rendered to their natural judges, and cease to be 
dealt with before special or military tribunals, a kind of institu- 
tion held in abhorrence even in absolute governments; and that, 
having done enough for glory, the moment of moderation has 
arrived ; and finally, that the acts of authority which the invasion 
of our country and our safety may have rendered necessary, are, 
since the evacuation of it by the enemy, no longer compatible 
with our dignity and our oath of making the Constitution 
respected. 6 

Louallier's " Communication " greatly incensed Jack- 
son, and he determined to have the author of it arrested 
as a spy, to be tried by a court martial. Judge Martin 
contends that, according to the rules and articles of war 
published by Jackson on March 4, an American citizen 
could not be tried as a spy by court martial, but for trea- 
son by the ordinary process of law. Louallier was a 
Frenchman by birth, but had become an American by 


naturalization. He was arrested at noon on Sunday, 
March 5, at the Exchange Coffee-house, and requested 
P. L. Morel, a lawyer, to attend to his case. Application 
was made to the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas 
corpus; but Judge Martin, a member of the court, de- 
clared that, as the court was only one of the appellate 
jurisdiction, it could not grant the writ. Morel then ap- 
plied to Dominick A. Hall, of the United States District 
Court, for a writ of prohibition, and later for a writ of 
habeas corpus, which the judge issued. It seems that the 
stern character of Hall had gained him many enemies, and 
some of these persuaded Jackson that the judge had com- 
mitted an offense punishable with death, as he had abetted 
mutiny. The general immediately ordered Colonel Ar- 
buckle, commander at the barracks, to arrest and confine 
Hall. The latter was to be prosecuted according to the 
seventh section of the articles of war, which is as follows : 

Any officer or soldier who shall begin, cause, excite, or join in 
any mutiny or sedition, in any troops or company, in the service 
of the United States, or in any post, detachment, or guard, shall 
suffer death, or such other punishment as by a court martial shall 
be inflicted. 

Hall was neither an officer nor a soldier, " but," says 
sarcastically Judge Martin, " according to the jurispru- 
dence of headquarters, the proclamation of martial law 
had transformed every inhabitant of New Orleans into a 
soldier, and rendered him punishable under the articles of 

Hall was arrested in his house at nine o'clock at night 


and confined with Louallier in the barracks. Hall's 
order for issuing the writ of habeas corpus was demanded 
of Richard Claiborne, the clerk of the United States 
District Court, but he answered that the rules of the court 
forbade him to part with any original paper lodged in his 
office. He was prevailed upon to go to headquarters, 
and he told Jackson that it was his duty to issue the writ 
and he certainly should do so. He was threatened with 
arrest, but he repeated that he would obey the order of the 
court. Jackson refused to return to him Louallier's pe- 
tition, on the back of which had been written the order to 
issue the writ. It seems that Hall had changed the date 
on the document from the fifth, which was Sunday, to the 
sixth, and it was believed by Jackson's counselors that the 
judge might be prosecuted for forgery. 

A little after midnight, P. L. B. Duplessis, marshal of 
the court, who was a volunteer aide of the general, visited 
headquarters, and the general announced to him that " he 
had shopped the judge," and asked him whether he would 
serve the writ. Duplessis answered that he would execute 
the court's writ on any man. There was great excitement 
during the night, and the events of 1806 were recalled, 
when Wilkinson had attempted to assume dictatorial 
power. A messenger had arrived in New Orleans, sent 
by the Department of War to announce the exchange 
of ratifications of the treaty of peace on February 17. 
Unfortunately, by an accident, a wrong packet had been 
given to the messenger, and the official intelligence of 
peace did not reach Jackson. There was no doubt, how- 
ever, of the conclusion of peace, for the messenger carried 


an order of the Postmaster to expedite him on his errand, 
as he bore " information of the peace." Jackson him- 
self was so certain of the fact that, on February 6, he 
wrote to General Lambert suggesting a cessation of hos- 
tilities. Martin says the general was thinking of " al- 
lowing his fellow-citizens in New Orleans to anticipate 
this happy return of peace," but persisted in his measures 
of violence because Hall asked to see a magistrate who 
would attend to his release. Impatient at any restraint, 
Jackson refused Hall's request, and, on the suggestion 
of some of his advisers, he ordered the arrest of Hol- 
lander, a merchant of some note. No one has ever known 
what was his offense. 7 While it was being argued before 
the Supreme Court whether a writ of habeas corpus 
should be issued in favor of Hollander, the latter was 
released by order of Jackson. 

Hall's case brought about curious complications. The 
United States attorney, John Dick, applied to Joshua 
Lewis, one of the district judges of the State, for a writ 
in favor of Hall. Lewis, who was an officer in the com- 
pany of the Orleans Rifles, and had been praised by Jack- 
son for his gallantry, " without hesitation, on the first call 
of Dick, laid down his rifle and allowed the writ." There- 
upon the commander-in-chief ordered both Dick and 
Lewis to be arrested. Colonel Arbuckle refused to deliver 
his prisoner, and Jackson countermanded the orders for 
the arrest of Dick and Lewis. 

On March 7 the court martial met for the trial of Lou- 
allier. It was presided over by Major-General Gaines, 
and on March 9 rendered its decision, which acquitted 


Louallier of the charge of being a spy. Jackson disap- 
proved of the finding of the court, and released neither 
Louallier nor Hall. Meanwhile, on March 8, the com- 
mander-in-chief discharged from active service the mili- 
tia which had assembled at the call for the levy en masse. 
He also suspended the execution of the order of Febru- 
ary 28 about the French subjects, after he had received 
an address from the officers and men of the principal vol- 
unteer militia corps of New Orleans, pledging them- 
selves for the future behavior of the Frenchmen in the 
city. The address had been presented to enable Jackson 
to recede with good grace from the position he had taken, 
which had become very critical. The excitement in the 
city continued to increase, and all the bands of social 
order appeared to have been dissolved. 8 The decision of 
the court martial about Louallier indicated plainly that 
Hall could not be prosecuted successfully, and, there- 
fore, on March 11, the latter was released from the bar- 
racks, led by a guard several miles beyond the limits of 
the city, and forbidden to return " till the ratification of 
the treaty is regularly announced, or the British shall 
have left the southern coast." Early in the morning of 
March 13 the despatch that had been mislaid reached New 
Orleans, and its arrival was announced by the firing of 
cannon. The President had directed that all military 
offenses be pardoned, and Jackson issued a proclama- 
tion to that effect. Louallier was liberated, and Hall 
returned to the city amid the acclamations of the inhabi- 
tants, who " admired in him the distinguishing charac- 
teristics of an American magistrate — a pure heart, clean 


hands, and a mind susceptible of no fear but that of 

On March 21, 1815, took place the trial of General 
Jackson for contempt of court before Dominick A. Hall, 
judge of the District Court of the United States. The 
subject is unpleasant, and we shall not give any details of 
the trial. The victorious commander acted with modera- 
tion, and used his influence to prevent disorder. He was 
condemned by Judge Hall to pay a fine of one thousand 
dollars and costs. Jackson immediately signed a check 
filled by Duncan, and handed it to the marshal. Judge 
Hall was right to maintain the dignity of his court and 
to resist despotic power, but he should have remitted the 
fine which he had imposed on the hero of New Orleans. 9 
The latter, on leaving the court-house, was taken to the 
Exchange Coffee-house in a carriage drawn by his 
friends. There he made a speech that almost makes us 
forget his arbitrary acts. He said that " during the in- 
vasion he had exerted every faculty in support of the 
Constitution and laws. On that day he had been called 
on to submit to their operation, under circumstances 
which many persons might have deemed sufficient to jus- 
tify resistance. Considering obedience to the laws, even 
when we think them unjustly applied, as the first duty 
of a citizen, he did not hesitate to comply with the sen- 
tence they had heard pronounced," and " he entreated the 
people," says Judge Martin, " to remember the example 
he had given them, of respectful submission to the ad- 
ministration of justice." We prefer to see General Jack- 
son on the ground which he had defended so well from 

1815] RESOLUTIONS 161 

December 23, 1814, to January 19, 1815. On the historic 
lines, between Macarty and Chalmette, on March 16, 
he passed in review some of the men who shared his glory, 
and he listened to a patriotic address presented to him 
by Major Plauche's battalion of volunteers. His com- 
panions in arms thanked him once more for his distin- 
guished services to the State and to the country, and 
Beale's battalion did likewise. 

President Madison, on March 13, requested Jackson 
to express to his troops his great satisfaction with their 
conduct, and added : 

To our newly adopted fellow-citizens of Louisiana you will give 
assurance of his [the President's] great sensibility to the decided 
and honorable proof which they have given of their attachment 
and devotion to the Union, and of the manly support of the 
rights of their country. 

The following resolutions were adopted unanimously: 

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America, in Congress assembled : That Congress 
entertain a high sense of the patriotism, fidelity, zeal, and courage 
with which the people of the State of Louisiana promptly and 
unanimously stepped forth, under circumstances of imminent 
danger from a powerful invading army, in defence of all the 
'"ndividual, social, and political rights held dear by man. Con- 
gress declare and proclaim, that the brave Louisianians deserve 
well of the whole people of the United States. 

Resolved, That Congress entertain a high sense of the generos- 
ity, benevolence, and humanity displayed by the people of New 
Orleans, in voluntarily offering the best accommodation in their 
power, and giving the kindest attention to the wounded, not only 


of our own army, but also to the wounded prisoners of a van- 
quished foe. 

Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested 
to cause the foregoing resolutions to be communicated to his Ex- 
cellency the Governor of Louisiana, accompanied with a request 
that he cause the greatest possible publicity to be given to them, 
for the information of the whole people of Louisiana. 

Resolutions giving the thanks of Congress to Major- 
General Jackson and the troops under his command, for 
their gallantry and good conduct in the defense of New 
Orleans, were also adopted, as follows: 

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the thanks 
of Congress be and they are hereby given to Maj or-General Jack- 
son, and through him to the officers and soldiers of the regular 
army, of the militia, and of the volunteers, under his immediate 
command, and the officers and soldiers charged with the defence 
of Fort St. Philip, for their uniform gallantry and good conduct, 
conspicuously displayed against the enemy from the time of his 
landing before New Orleans until his final expulsion from the 
State of Louisiana; and particularly for their valor, skill, and 
good conduct on the 8th of January last, in repulsing, with great 
slaughter, a numerous British army of chosen veteran troops, 
when attempting by a bold and daring attack to storm and carry 
the works hastily thrown up for the defence of New Orleans, and 
thereby obtaining a most signal and complete victory over the 
enemy, with a disparity of loss on his part unexampled in military 

Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested 
to cause to be struck a gold medal with devices emblematical of 
this splendid achievement, and presented to Maj or-General Jack- 
son, as a testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress 

1815] RESOLUTIONS 163 

of his judicious and distinguished conduct on that memorable 

Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested 
to cause the foregoing resolutions to be communicated to Major- 
General Jackson, in such terms as he may deem best calculated 
to give effect to the objects thereof. 

Resolved, That Congress entertain a high sense of the valor 
and good conduct of Commodore D. T. Patterson, of the officers 
and seamen attached to his command, for their prompt and effi- 
cient cooperation with General Jackson, in the late gallant and 
successful defence of the city of New Orleans when assailed by 
a powerful British force. 

Resolved, That Congress entertain a high sense of the valor 
and good conduct of Major Daniel Carmick, of the officers, non- 
commissioned officers, and marines under his command, in the de- 
fence of said city, on the late memorable occasion. 

The Legislature of Louisiana adopted also resolutions, 
which we reproduce in full, as they give an excellent idea 
of the history of those troublous days : 

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the State of Louisiana, in General Assembly convened, That the 
Legislature of the State of Louisiana deem it their duty to pro- 
claim the facts hereinafter stated, as bearing testimony to the 
zeal and patriotism that were displayed by the citizens in every 
part of this State during the late invasion of the British. 

At the first news of our danger, the militia, together with a vast 
number of volunteers, flocked into New Orleans from every county 
in this State. The planters on both sides of the river, within a 
space of several leagues, either above or below town, furnished 
thousands of their slaves, and sent them to every particular place 
where their labor was thought necessary ; it was through the means 
which were voluntarily granted by the planters that most of 


the artillery, ammunition, and provisions were transported; and 
whenever detachments occasionally stopped at their plantations, 
the latter met them with the most cordial reception, and they were 
supplied with both food and forage as the same was wanting or 
could possibly be procured. 

It should be remarked, that even these planters, whose estates 
had already been destro3 r ed by the enemy, or had fallen into his 
possession, far from being dismayed by the sad prospect before 
them, had only been brought to that pitch of misfortune that 
their love of their country might appear with greater lustre. 
Thus at the same time that MM. Villere's, de La Ronde's, La- 
coste's, and Bienvenu's sugar estates were laid waste, and made 
a prey to conflagration, M. Villere, Sen., Maj or-General of our 
gallant militia, went on a survey of the upper counties for the 
purpose of hastening reinforcements, which at the first call pre- 
sented themselves in readiness to march; and when, after his re- 
turn to camp, he had once taken charge at the second line of the 
post that had been assigned him, he was seen there invariably 
to fulfil his duties with that wonderful tranquillity of mind which 
a man having nothing to lose would have hardly been capable of ; 
yet this gentleman, the head of a numerous family, could not but 
know that one hundred slaves of his own were on his plantation 
at the mercy of the British, and that all his movable property 
had already been either plundered or destroyed. 

His son, M. Villere, Jun., Major of the Third Regiment, after 
having, at the peril of his life, effected his escape from the British 
army, who had surprised him at his house, joined the forces that 
marched to repel the enemy of the 23rd of December, and has 
ever since performed an active duty. 

The important position of Chef Menteur was protected by 
Major Lacoste at the head of his corps, consisting of free men of 
color, whilst his sugar estate was set to ruin and devastation. 
M. Lacoste, Jun., his son, though deprived of the use of one arm, 
nevertheless shared constantly with his brother soldiers the toils 
and dangers of war. 

1815] RESOLUTIONS 165 

M. de La Ronde, colonel of the Third Regiment, though he 
abstained from claiming that part of the service which his rank 
entitled him to, did not disdain to serve as a guide, and with 
imminent peril continued scouting in woods almost impracticable, 
both in the flank and rear of the British, for the purpose of 
reconnoitering and making known their position. 

In town, Colonel Fortier, Sen., contributed in a great measure 
to the more prompt departure for Chef Menteur of the free men 
of color, already embodied, by furnishing them, at his own cost, 
with such articles as they stood in need of. To him also the 
country owes the forming and organizing a second corps of free 
men of color, to whom the brave Savary was appointed a captain. 
At his call, both captain and soldiers repaired to his house to be 
enlisted. He personally attended to the arming and equipping 
of them ; and through his exertions that company, under the com- 
mand of Major Daquin, was enabled to take the field and to face 
the enemy a few hours after its formation. M. Fortier caused 
also several hundreds of muskets unfit for use to be repaired. 

No sooner was it reported that a British squadron had arrived 
on our coast, than the uniformed companies of the militia of New 
Orleans, under the command of Major Plauche and Captains 
P. Roche, St. Geme, Hudry, White, and Guibert, and the rifle 
corps under the command of Captain Beale, who had some time 
before tendered their services, were placed at the Bayou St. John, 
to which point it was expected the enemy would attempt to pene- 
trate. It was from that position those gallant companies marched, 
with the rapidity of lightning, to the plains of Villere on the 23rd 
of December, at the first appearance of the British. 

They travelled nearly twelve miles with wonderful rapidity, and 
fought with a bravery and resolution that would have done credit 
even to experienced soldiers. The first and second regiments of 
the militia of New Orleans, under the command of Colonels Dejan 
and Zenon Cavelier, have conducted themselves, in the several 
posts they were called upon to defend, with zeal and courage. 
They have borne with patience the fatigue of painful marches, 


occasioned by their being successively sent from one position to 

The Fourth Regiment, commanded by G. W. Morgan, their 
colonel, was entrusted with the defence of Chef Menteur, upon 
Major Lacoste's corps being withdrawn therefrom. They dis- 
charged their duty in a manner that bade defiance to all possible 
attempts on the part of the enemy to force that important pass. 
Three volunteer troops of horse, the one of them from the Atta- 
kapas, under the command of Captain Dubuclet, and the other 
from Feliciana, commanded by Captain Smith, and the last from 
Bayou Sara, under command of Captain Griffith, had already 
arrived in town, prior to the landing of the British. Two more 
troops of horse were immediately formed at New Orleans, headed 
by Captains Cheveau and Ogden. The conduct of those several 
corps, upon every occasion where their services have been called 
for, deserves particular notice; and they were extremely useful. 
Captain Dubuclet was wounded in the head by a musket-ball 
while in the act of rallying some men in an engagement on the 
right bank of the river. 

General Thomas, General Hopkins, and General M'Causland, 
at the head of the gallant militia under their command, hastened 
by forced marches from their respective counties in order to assist 
in defending the country. 

General Garrigues de Flaujac, by his patriotism and the talents 
he displayed whilst the capital was threatened by the enemy, has 
earned the honor of being ranked among those who deserved well 
of their country. 

Whilst our gallant militia were employed in the defence of the 
country at the several posts which had been assigned them, the 
citizens more advanced in years, having voluntarily formed them- 
selves into companies of veterans, attended to the preservation of 
police and civil order in town. They greatly contributed by their 
good countenance to dissipate the alarm created by the approach 
of the enemy, and by their unwearied exertions they insured the 
speedy and faithful conveyance to camp of such articles as were 
to be sent there. They were also usefully employed in overseeing 

1815] RESOLUTIONS 167 

that many donations made by our fellow citizens should be both 
applied properly and without confusion. At the head of these 
respectable veterans appeared M. Debuys, Sen., their captain. 

General Labatut had the command of the town. He performed 
his task with a zeal and activity that*have done him infinite honor. 

The Mayor and City Council of New Orleans, by the adoption 
of measures that indicate their foresight and humanity, have 
maintained our internal peace, and so far prevented a scarcity 
of provisions to be felt in the town, to make it doubtful whether 
the presence of the enemy in our neighborhood had diminished our 

The attention of Mr. Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Or- 
leans, in the mean while, was extended with great benefit to each 
part of the service. All the means placed at his disposal were 
applied in a manner that told of a skilful administrator. Such 
families as were in actual distress were relieved and furnished 
with provisions, agreeably to a decree of the City Council ap- 
propriating a sum fully adequate to this purpose of benevolence. 

The fair of New Orleans, without exception, eagerly undertook 
a variety of needlework, for the use of the army. Many of them 
who till then had been accustomed to do none but the nicest work, 
did not disdain sewing cloaks of the coarsest woolens. They gave 
both lint and linen for the use of the sick and. wounded. 

The Ursuline nuns are also entitled to a particular notice. 
They gave admittance within the walls of their monastery to as 
many of the sick as could be conveniently lodged therein, and 
afforded them every aid, conformably to the dictates of true 

All the practising surgeons and physicians in the town have 
acted so as to do the highest honor to their profession. Their 
readiness in bestowing assistance to the military who wanted it 
was such as did not permit them to wait till an application should 
be made for their services. A sympathetic feeling led them sev- 
eral miles below town to meet the wounded on the way and give 
them immediate attendance. 

A committee named by the same veterans above mentioned, 


whose patriotism was not merely confined to the performance of 
the military duties they had willingly submitted to, on which 
committee they had appointed namely Messrs. Fortier, Sen., Jh. 
Soulie, and Mr. Louallier, a member of the House of Representa- 
tives, was affording relief fo the sick and wounded with an in- 
defatigable zeal: procuring subscriptions for the purchase of 
clothing intended for our fellow soldiers, who had left their homes 
unprovided for a winter campaign. A sum exceeding fourteen 
thousand dollars was actually laid out for that laudable object, 
including in it the appropriation of six thousand dollars made 
by the Legislature. 

Every member on that committee deserves the highest praise 
for his perseverance and assiduity in fulfilling his task. 

The enumeration of the corps and individuals who had given 
so many proofs of patriotism and devotion to their country, ought 
not to be closed without mentioning the Governor of this State, 
whose efforts have constantly been directed towards cherishing the 
happy disposition of the inhabitants, and whose authority to its 
utmost extent has been employed in securing the success of the 
measures adopted for the defence of this country. 

Be it further resolved by the authority aforesaid, That each and 
every person and collection of persons mentioned in the foregoing 
statement are justly entitled to the gratitude of their country. 

Be it further resolved by the authority aforesaid, That it shall 
be the duty of the Governor of the State of Louisiana, in the name 
of the said State, to present the corps of veterans of New Orleans 
with a stand of colors bearing the following inscription : " Our 
sons were repelling the foe, we attended to the safety of their 
mothers and wives," and on the other side thereof will be seen a 
river, with an eagle hovering over the same, and this inscription 
on the river's bank, "For common use, and the benefit of all." 

Magloire Guichard, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 


President of the Senate. 


Lafitte and his Baratarians had acted so well during 
the British invasion that President Madison granted 
them a pardon. 

From 1815 to 1817 their movements were little known. 10 
They are believed to have cruised in the Gulf during that 
time, and to have tried to establish themselves at Port 
au Prince. In 1817 Lafitte's followers numbered about 
forty, and on April 15 they went to the island of Galves- 
ton and established a government, with all the usual offi- 
cers, and took the oath of fidelity to the Mexican repub- 
lic. They had no idea, however, of aiding Mexico in its 
revolution, and their object was to capture Spanish prop- 
erty. At the end of 1817 the number of the freebooters 
was increased to one thousand, and they did immense 
harm to Spanish commerce in the Gulf, and took posses- 
sion of vessels of other nations also. 

As the boundary question had not been settled, the 
Spanish governor objected to the breaking up of the 
pirates' nest, and Lafitte and his men continued unmo- 
lested their life as bucaneers. They built a fort and 
houses on the site of the present city of Galveston, and 
formed a settlement named Campeachy. In October, 
1819, Lafitte was made governor of Galveston, which had 
been declared a port of entry by the newly proclaimed 
republic of Texas. He hanged one of his followers, who 
had robbed an American vessel; but in 1820 one of his 
cruisers scuttled an American vessel in Matagorda Bay, 
and Lieutenant Lawrence Kearny, of the Enterprise, 
was sent in 1821 to destroy Lafitte's establishment. The 
celebrated privateer, or pirate, as he really was at that 


time, received the American officer very courteously and 
obeyed his orders. His fortifications were demolished, 
his men disbanded, and he sailed away forever. He con- 
tinued to cruise until 1826, when he died at Cilam, in 
Yucatan, and was buried in consecrated ground. He is 
described by an officer of the Enterprise as " a stout, 
rather gentlemanly personage, five feet ten inches in 
height, dressed very simply in a foraging-cap and blue 
frock of a most villainous fit; his complexion, like most 
Creoles, olive; his countenance full, mild, and rather im- 
pressive, but for a small black eye which now and then, 
as he grew animated in conversation, would flash in a 
way which impressed me with a notion that ' II Capitano ' 
might be, when roused, a very ' ugly customer.' He was 
evidently educated and gifted with no small talent for 
conversation." Captain Beluche went to Cartagena 
and became a commodore in the Bolivian navy. 11 Cap- 
tain Dominique You returned to New Orleans, and be- 
came a useful citizen. When he died, several years later, 
military honors were paid to his memory, banks and busi- 
ness houses were closed, and flags on ships and public 
buildings were placed at half-mast. 12 His epitaph is still 
to be seen on his tomb in the old St. Louis cemetery. 

Among the distinguished men that took part in the bat- 
tle of New Orleans we have mentioned the name of Gen- 
eral Humbert. He was born at Bouvroy in Lorraine in 
1755, and joined the army as a volunteer in 1791. 13 He 
soon became a brigadier-general, and served in Vendee. 
In 1798 he was commander-in-chief of the expedition to 
Ireland, landed with a few men at Killola, and was over- 


whelmed by superior numbers and made prisoner. After 
his liberation he took part in the unfortunate Santo Do- 
mingo expedition, and soon afterward lost the favor of 
Bonaparte. He came to America and lived for several 
years in New Orleans, where he taught school. 14 In 
1816 General Humbert led a force of one thousand men, 
of all nationalities, into Mexico to fight for the indepen- 
dence of that country. He behaved gallantly, but was 
unsuccessful, and returned to New Orleans in 1817. He 
died in that city in 1823. He was an able and valiant offi- 
cer and one of the handsomest men in the French army 
at the time of the Revolution. Reuben Kemper, of West 
Florida fame, was also an officer at the battle of New 

We shall end this chapter with an abstract of Bernard 
Marigny's " Reflections on the Campaign of General 
Jackson." Marigny's services, as given by himself, were 
as follows : 

Member of the committee on defence named by the House of 
Representatives in 1814; ex-President of the Senate of Louisiana; 
member of the Convention which erected the Territory of Orleans 
into a State in 1812 ; and member of the Convention of 1844 and 
1845 which gave a new constitution to Louisiana. 

Bernard Marigny, or de Marigny de Mandeville, was 
born in New Orleans in 1785. He belonged to a dis- 
tinguished family, and was for a time very wealthy. In 
his pamphlet, 15 published in 1848, he says that when Gen- 
eral Jackson arrived in New Orleans in 1814 the popu- 
lation rose en masse for defense. It would be impossible, 


he says, to mention a single Frenchman who abandoned 
the country at the time of danger or refused to fight. 
A committee of defense was named by the Legislature 
and was composed of Marigny, Roffignac, and Louallier, 
members of the House of Representatives. The old men 
organized companies to guard the city and Fort St. 
Charles, and Gaspard Debuys was named general of the 
veterans. The ladies formed committees to procure 
everything necessary for the wounded and for nursing 
them, and private hospitals were established. The Leg- 
islature requested all the inhabitants who possessed more 
than one gun to place their firearms at the disposal of 
the State. The Bank of Louisiana, yielding to public 
demand, caused the dollars to be cut into four parts, 
to prevent their being sent out of Louisiana, and to 
multiply the means of providing for the wants of the 
people. General Jackson was asked by the committee 
of public defense to accept the services of Lafitte and his 
men, but he refused, and it was Judge Hall who caused 
the prosecution of the Baratarians to be stopped. 

On December 28, 1814, Marigny met the Speaker of 
the House, Magloire Guichard, in great distress, coming 
down the steps of the government house. Guichard told 
him, " We are accused of treason, for the doors of the 
Legislature are closed by order of General Jackson." 
Marigny says of this incident: "Those who knew this 
good and respectable Magloire Guichard, a man already 
aged, will they not say that it was madness to make of 
him a conspirator? " 16 Marigny, in great anger, went 
on horseback to Jackson's line, and spoke to him about 


the closing of the doors of the Legislature. The general 
took his hand and said: " Return to the city, reassure your 
colleagues: all that is a misunderstanding. I was en- 
gaged in fighting when I sent word to Governor Clai- 
borne to ascertain whether the Legislature wished to 
capitulate, and, in that case, to blow it up." Marigny says 
that Declouet, who had spread the rumor about the 
Legislature, was a suspicious but honest man who had 
exaggerated a conversation he had had with Magloire 

Marigny condemns the arrest of Louallier and Hall, 
and says that the Senate of Louisiana was right not to 
pass a bill to present a sword of honor to Jackson and to 
approve all his acts while in the State. This would have 
been striking at Hall and Louallier, who, after the gen- 
eral's departure from New Orleans, continued to be es- 
teemed by all the people. Marigny voted against the bill 
in the House, but remained an excellent friend of Jack- 
son, who stayed at his house during his visit to New Or- 
leans in 1828. 

In order to prove the injustice of the accusation 
against the French in Louisiana in 1814 and 1815, Ma- 
rigny enumerates their important services, as well as 
those of the Creoles. He says : 

To have a correct idea of the rank occupied by the Creoles and 
the nationalized citizens of all nations, the reader must be in- 
formed that on January 8 the Battalion of Orleans was commanded 
by J. B. Plauche, a Creole of Louisiana; that it was composed 
of five companies: Pierre Roche commanded that of Captain 
Plauche, the four others had for captains St. Geme, Guibert, 


Hudry, and Maunsel White; these five captains were naturalized 
citizens — four Frenchmen and one Irishman, Mr. Maunsel White. 
St. Geme was the Ajax of the army; it was he who, on December 
23, recommended to General Jackson the Rodriguez Canal as the 
best point to be fortified. 17 Mr. Latour, a Frenchman, a pupil 
of the Polytechnic School, was one of the principal engineers of 
the armj r . Pierre Lacoste, a Creole, commanded all the men of 
color, but Major Daquin, Creole of Santo Domingo, commanded 
the men of color of that colony, with whom was Savary, a Creole, 
also of Santo Domingo, an officer under the French Republic, 
and a man of recognized valor. 

Davezac, a Creole of Santo Domingo, was aide-de-camp of 
General Jackson; S. Hiriart, Charles Maurian, Fauchie Colson, 
a naturalized Frenchman, served on the staff. Out of the ten or 
twelve cannon in Jackson's line, six at least were directed by 
Creoles of Louisiana or by Frenchmen — Beluche, Bellerive, Ray- 
mond, Montegut were Creoles. Dominique You, the Lafittes, Cadet 
Bouteille, Garrigues de Flaujac, and Chauveau were French or 
naturalized ; Gambi was an Italian. General de La Ronde, who 
had a perfect knowledge of the localities, as well as Major Villere, 
his son-in-law, both Creoles of Louisiana, executed all the orders 
which they received from the general-in-chief. In the Forty- 
fourth, in the service of the United States, were a large number 
of Creoles of Louisiana, officers as well as soldiers. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Peire, Creole of Santo Domingo, a distinguished officer 
who had been in the campaign in the Floridas, commanded the 
Seventh Infantry of the regular army. The mortars were served 
by Lefebvre, a soldier of the Republic under Bonaparte. The 
cavalry squadron of New Orleans was commanded by Cheveau, 
a naturalized Frenchman. Jcan-Baptiste Vigne, also a natural- 
ized Frenchman, was the first lieutenant. The company of dra- 
goons of Attakapas had for its chief Dubuclet. That company 
was composed only of Creoles. Finally, the intrepid Humbert, 
former General of the French Republic, sought death everywhere 
and found it nowhere. 


General Villere, a Creole of Louisiana, commanded the line at 
Dupre Canal ; he had about twelve hundred men, three fourths of 
them Creole militiamen from the parishes of St. John the Baptist, 
St. James, Iberville, and Lafourche. At Chef Menteur were a 
large number of Creoles of Louisiana and of naturalized citizens. 
The artillery there was commanded by Bosque, a Creole of Loui- 
siana. On Bayou Barataria, at the Temple and other important 
points, there were more than four hundred Creoles. 

Had the campaign lasted longer, with the levy en 
masse of the militia, the majority of Jackson's army 
would have been composed of Creoles or naturalized 
Frenchmen. Of the men able to bear arms in New Or- 
leans, in 1814 and 1815, there were, according to Ma- 
rigny, only about three hundred of Anglo-Saxon race, 
out of a total population of about eighteen thousand souls. 

Marigny speaks very highly of Jean Blanque, a mem- 
ber of the Legislature, and ends his interesting memoir 
with a chivalric tribute of homage and respect to the fair 
sex of Louisiana, among whom, says he, would have been 
found, if necessary, another Joan of Arc to defeat the 
English. In relating the events of 1814 and 1815, the 
writer has endeavored to give praise to all the men that 
deserved it, but he has wished to call attention specially 
to the admirable behavior of the Louisianians of French 
origin. This is but simple justice to men whose patriot- 
ism had been suspected, and who proved that they were as 
loyal Americans as the men of Tennessee and Kentucky. 


Period of Development 
1815 to 1831 

Period of tranquillity— Prosperity of Louisiana from 1815 to 1860 — Clai- 
borne's farewell address — Election of Governor Vfller6 — Death of Claiborne 
— Important laws in 1817 and 1818 — Early steamboats in Louisiana — Re- 
striction of immigration— Abatement of party spirit— Debt of the State 
extinguished — Report on public education in 1820 — The word slavery ap- 
pears in a public document in 1820 — Robertson's fiery messages — Lotteries 
authorized — Cold weather in 1823 — Lafayette in Louisiana in 1825 — Liv- 
ingston's Criminal Code — Report on the overflows of the Mississippi — Meet- 
ing of the Legislature at Donaldson ville in 1831 — Danger of disparity in 
numbers between the white and the black population— Return of the Legis- 
lature to New Orleans. 

FTER the stirring events of Decem- 
ber, 1814, and January, 1815, there 
was for several years a period of 
tranquillity in Louisiana, and we 
may well call the State fortunate at 
that time, for it had little political 
history. From 1815 to the beginning 
of the great Civil War, its history is one of internal devel- 
opment. Agriculture and commerce flourished wonder- 
fully. The cultivation of the sugar-cane was greatly 
extended and plantations were established where for- 
merly stood virgin forests. Cotton began to be cultivated 
more extensively, and soon arose the peculiar civilization 
of the wealthy planters, who lived on their vast estates in 


1815] PROSPERITY 177 

all the magnificence of feudal lords, governing their 
slaves with justice, managing their plantations, attending 
to the politics of their parishes and of the State, and, 
above all, offering a bountiful hospitality to all who pre- 
sented themselves at their door, rich or poor. In a short 
time the sugar plantations represented a capital of forty 
millions of dollars. 1 Bore's energy and intelligence had 
been fruitful, from the time when he succeeded in granu- 
lating sugar in 1796. 

As the Louisianians had proved in 1815 that they knew 
how to defend themselves from a foreign foe, it was seen 
that there was perfect safety in settling in the State, and 
immigrants from the other States of the Union arrived in 
large numbers to develop the northern and western par- 
ishes. They settled also in the prairies southwest of the 
Teche. In 1830 the population north of Red River and 
west of the Ouachita was about two thousand souls. 2 In 
1845 that region contained not fewer than fourteen thou- 
sand inhabitants. In 1830 Louisiana was an important 
State with regard to agriculture and commerce, and in 
1840 New Orleans occupied the second place in the coun- 
try in point of commerce. The population which in 1815 
was not more than ninety thousand, half of whom were 
blacks, was more than four hundred thousand souls in 
1845 and was seven hundred and eight thousand and two 
in 1860. The progress of the State was uninterrupted 
from the end of the war with Great Britain to the begin- 
ning of the Civil War. Honest and efficient governors 
administered the affairs of Louisiana under the old 
regime. The State was represented in Congress by able 


men; the bench and bar and the members of the medical 
profession were an honor to Louisiana, and an interesting 
literature flourished both in French and in English. The 
momentous events from 1861 to 1877 arrested the growth 
of Louisiana; but the people have known how to regain 
their independence and to start the State again on the 
road of intellectual progress and material prosperity. 

On January 8, 1816, the first anniversary of the battle 
of New Orleans was celebrated with great pomp in the 
city. By an act of the Legislature, on motion of Mr. 
Roffignac, 3 the governor had been requested to have a 
Te Deum sung at the cathedral, and to invite the officers 
of the Army and Navy of the United States to attend, as 
well as the municipal and military authorities in the 
State. It had been further resolved that the Legislature 
should be present in a body. 

On March 23, 1816, General Jackson arrived in New 
Orleans, and he was honored on the Sunday following 
with " salutes and congratulations demonstrative of the 
respect due to the man who, under the protecting power 
of Omnipotence, saved our city." 4 On the fourth of 
July, 1816, a splendid dinner was given at Jackson Hall, 
at which Judge Joshua Lewis presided and Colonel 
Michel Fortier, Senior, was vice-chairman. The toast 
to Jackson was as follows: "Major-General Andrew 
Jackson — In the hour of danger our country was fortu- 
nate in finding a second Washington." 5 

In 1816 Claiborne's term of office as governor came to 
an end. He had accomplished his work well, from the 
memorable twentieth of December, 1803, when he stood 


on the balcony of the Cabildo and saw the banner of the 
United States rise proudly to the top of the staff erected 
in the center of the Place d'Armes, to December 17, 
1816, when he again became a private citizen of Louisiana 
and of the United States. On November 20, 1816, he de- 
livered his farewell address to the General Assembly, and 
the last official words of the first governor of American 
Louisiana deserve to be remembered. He congratulates 
the State on the peace that reigns in the United States and 
in Europe, and speaks of the immigrants who come to a 
favored land, where the rights of conscience, of person, 
and of property are secure. He calls attention to the ne- 
cessity of a well-regulated militia, and adds : 

But to guard against foreign aggression is not our only duty. 
We should take at home every precaution to preserve unim- 
paired for our posterity the rich inheritance of free elections, equal 
representation, and just laws. The great instructors of mankind, 
the faithful historians, inform us that free governments have 
often been assailed by the hand of violence, and that an en- 
lightened people can best maintain their rights against the am- 
bition, the fraud and artifice, which are always lying in wait to 
grasp them. I speak of that inordinate ambition which in all 
ages has prompted men to rise to power and distinction on the 
ruins of public liberty — of that fraud and artifice with which 
tyrants of every grade veil their designs, but never so successfully 
as among a people uninformed or unwatchful of their privileges. 
The representatives, therefore, of a free State should consider the 
diffusion of knowledge an object of primary importance, they 
should give great publicity to the charter that defines with ac- 
curacy and allots with precision the powers of the different 
branches of government, to the laws severally enacted, and to the 
various subjects that may from time to time occupy their delibera- 


tions. But, above all things, care should be taken to rear their 
youths in the paths of virtue, science, and patriotism, that those 
who are to succeed to independence and self-government may 
know how to estimate, how to use, and how to conserve the great 
heritage. The interests, then, of literature I hope will always be 
fondly cherished, and the most liberal encouragement extended 
to those worthy citizens who devote themselves to the instruction 
of our children in the way they should go — in teaching the young 
ideas how to shoot and the affections how to move. 

In many points of view, gentlemen, this city is peculiarly en- 
titled to your notice. It is your only seaport, and the great com- 
mercial depot for Western America. The rapidity of its growth 
is as inevitable as the magnitude and splendor which she must 
ultimately attain. Hence the necessity of establishing and per- 
fecting such municipal regulations as shall ensure to the many 
thousands of persons destined to reside and to sojourn within its 
limits the reign of law and order; as shall discourage vice and 
incite to virtue; as may provide employment for the poor, relief 
for the distressed, and, under the protection of Heaven, promote 
the health and protract the life of man. 

Gentlemen, the period to which the constitution limits my con- 
tinuance in office will arrive in a few weeks. In the meanwhile, 
I shall employ myself in bringing to a close such unfinished busi- 
ness as requires my agency, and in preparing the executive de- 
partment for a transfer to the respected and distinguished citizen 
designated as my successor. 

It is now the thirteenth year that I have assisted in adminis- 
tering the government of this section of the United States ; and 
when I look back to the scenes through which we have passed, no 
one can be more sensible of the many obstacles encountered. In 
the State in which I found affairs on my first arrival in Louisiana, 
amidst the frequent changes of government that ensued, and the 
difficulty of accommodating the laws to the wishes of a people dif- 
ferent in language, in customs, in early habits, and on many sub- 
jects discordant in sentiment and opinions, it became impossible 


to pursue a course of conduct with which all would be satisfied. 
A continued opposition therefore excited no surprise. I could only 
hope, from the generous character of the citizens, that the great 
majority would view with candor and receive with indulgence my 
honest efforts to serve them. Feeling the weakness of human 
nature, I am far from supposing it has not been my misfortune 
to commit many errors. When I entered upon the public service, 
I could only stipulate to discharge my duties zealously and faith- 
fully to the best of my judgment. My conscience assures me that 
this condition has been fulfilled, and with the most scrupulous 
exactitude. In every situation of life I shall cherish the warmest 
attachment for the interests of this State. I trust that no event 
may occur to disturb her happiness ; that no untoward circum- 
stances may interrupt her prosperity. Concord, harmony, and 
mutual confidence sweeten the private and domestic circle; they 
tend no less to give tranquillity and force and safety to political 
communities. The solemn covenant by which Louisiana was ceded 
to the empire of American liberty has been happily consummated. 
The people have been received into the bosom of the American 
Union, and with equal privileges. Let, then, no improper jeal- 
ousies be fostered, no injurious distinctions be made. We are mem- 
bers of one family, and all have the same common interest. 

I cannot retire from the station to which the people of the 
State were pleased to raise me, without tendering to them my 
sincere acknowledgments. Had this station been free from every 
embarrassment, I might not perhaps have justly estimated their 
generous patronage, but in moments of my greatest difficulty the 
proofs of personal confidence, and the ready support afforded me, 
were such as can never be forgotten — they are deeply engraven 
on a grateful heart. 6 

On November 19, 1816, the returns of election for the 
office of governor were read, and General Jacques Villere 
was found to have received twenty-three hundred and 


fourteen votes and Judge Joshua Lewis twenty-one 
hundred and forty-five. 7 The Assembly then proceeded 
to the election of the governor, and Villere received 
forty-three votes and Lewis three votes. Villere was 
therefore proclaimed as elected Governor of Louisiana. 
He had been an unsuccessful candidate for that office in 

In January, 1817, Claiborne was elected to the United 
States Senate, but he did not live to take his seat in that 
body. He died on November 23, 1817, greatly regretted 
by the people of Louisiana. The City Council, " most 
sincerely participating in the grief which so great a loss 
occasions among all good citizens, actuated by the senti- 
ment of the most lively gratitude for the essential services 
rendered by the late William C. C. Claiborne to the State 
of Louisiana, and to the city of New Orleans in particu- 
lar, when filling the functions of governor, and well con- 
vinced that no less important ones were to be expected 
from him as a Senator in Congress," adopted the follow- 
ing resolutions : 

Resolved, That the City Council will wear mourning for a week 
in consequence of the lamented death of the Hon. William C. C. 
Claiborne, and that they will attend his funeral in a body. 

Resolved, also, that a monument shall be raised, at the expense 
of the city of New Orleans, to the memory of that illustrious 
citizen, and that a committee shall be charged to lay before the 
Council the plan of that monument, and determine the inscription 
to be placed on the same. 8 

The following communication appeared in the " Loui- 
siana Courier," November 25, 1817: 


Mr. William C. C. Claiborne died on the 23rd instant, after a 
very long and painful disease, during which he preserved that 
sweet temper and that kindness which had secured him the love 
of all those who had an opportunity of being acquainted with him. 
[His career is then related until his return to Tennessee from 
Congress, and the communication continues.] Having returned 
to Tennessee at the time when the suffrages of the citizens of the 
Union were divided between Mr. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron 
Burr, Mr. Claiborne was chosen as an elector, and the election of 
Mr. Jefferson was no longer doubtful. It suffices to bring to 
the recollection of every good American that it was Mr. Claiborne's 
vote which gave them as President the enlightened citizen, the 
virtuous philosopher, whose administration so essentially con- 
tributed to the prosperity of America, to secure to his memory 
that respect and gratitude due to citizens who rendered great 
services to their country. Where is the inhabitant of Louisiana 
who, on reflecting that it is to Air. Jefferson he owes the happiness 
of belonging to the American Union, will not weep over the loss 
of the man who secured his election to the Presidency ? The cession 
of this country opened a new career for Mr. Claiborne; he left 
the Mississippi Territory, of which he was governor, to fill the 
functions of commissioner charged to administer Louisiana and 
entrusted with all the powers which had been enjoyed by the Gov- 
ernors and Intendants under the Spanish Government. Soon af- 
terward Louisiana was formed into a Territory, and for ten years 
Mr. Claiborne was its governor. His remarkable honesty, the 
softness of his manners, and the evenness of his temper, made him 
universally beloved. He exerted his influence in propagating that 
inviolable attachment which he bore to republican institutions ; and 
if we now hold a rank among the most patriotic States of the 
Union, it is, in a great measure, owing to the example and pre- 
cepts of Mr. Claiborne. The erection of the Territory of Orleans 
into a State furnished to the Louisianians an opportunity of re- 
warding his services by raising him to the first magistracy. His 
administration during four years secured him new rights to public 


love and gratitude, and, the constitution of the State being op- 
posed to his reelection, the General Assembly chose him as one of 
our Senators in Congress. He was on the eve of rendering to 
the country services no less essential than those which had hitherto 
marked his political career, when death deprived America of a 
most virtuous citizen, his family of a tender father and husband, 
and his numerous friends of a good and worthy man. Louisiana 
will long deplore the loss she has sustained, and she will never 
cease to cherish the remembrance of him who so well deserved her 
love and confidence. 

Claiborne's predecessor as United States senator was 
James Brown, who had succeeded Thomas Lloyd Posey 
in December, 1812. Claiborne's colleague would have 
been Eligius Fromentin, successor to Allan B. Magruder 
in 1813. Henry Johnson, who became Governor of Loui- 
siana in 1824, was elected to succeed Claiborne in the 
Senate. General Villere took the oath of office as gov- 
ernor before the two houses at twelve o'clock on December 
17, 1816. 

Jacques Philippe Villere was born in Louisiana in 1761. 
He was the son of Joseph Roy Villere, one of the martyrs 
of the Revolution of 1768 and of Louise Marguerite de 
la Chaise, a granddaughter of Treasurer de la Chaise 
during the French domination and of the Chevalier 
d'Arensbourg. The family name was Roy, or Rouer de 
Villere. When his father died, in 1769, Jacques Philippe 
Villere was only eight years old. He was educated in 
France at the expense of Louis XVI, 9 and in 1780 was 
appointed lieutenant of artillery in a regiment at Santo 
Domingo. He resigned that office and went back to Loui- 


siana, where he married Jeanne Henriette Fazende in 
1784. He became a sugar-planter, and in his house the 
British established their headquarters in December, 1814. 
His services during the campaign were very valuable. 
Before he was elected governor, Villere had occupied sev- 
eral important places in Louisiana, and he was highly es- 
teemed by the people. His administration from 1816 to 
1820 was uneventful, but was marked by great pros- 

In 1816 a distinguished man who had been in Loui- 
siana several years paid the following tribute to the people 
of New Orleans : 

Much distortion of opinion has existed, and is not yet eradicated 
in the other parts of the United States, respecting public morals 
and manners in New Orleans. Divested of preconceived ideas 
on the subject, an observing man will find little to condemn in 
New Orleans, more than in other commercial cities, and will find 
that noble distinction of all active communities, acuteness of con- 
ception, urbanity of manners, and polished exterior. There are 
few places where human life can be enjoyed with more pleasure, 
or employed to more pecuniary profit. 10 

On January 1, 1817, a branch of the Bank of the 
United States was opened in New Orleans, and in 1818 
the State Bank of Louisiana was established with a capi- 
tal of two million dollars. 

The Legislature in 1817 and 1818 passed several im- 
portant laws : * * The insolvent debtor could escape im- 
prisonment by abandoning all his property to his credi- 
tors; but the fraudulent bankrupt was incapable of 


occupying any place of honor or profit. The death 
penalty was decreed against any person who should kill 
another in a duel, but the penalty was never enforced. A 
fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of the court, was 
decreed against those who should seek to corrupt a judge, 
or obstruct a public road, or keep a house of ill-fame, or 
be accomplices to a crime after the fact. Several laws 
were enacted concerning the Black Code. 

In 1811 a charter had been granted to Robert R. Liv- 
ingston and Robert Fulton for the exclusive privilege of 
navigating the Mississippi with vessels propelled by 
steam. 12 A resolution was adopted by the Legislature in 
1817 to inquire whether the charter should not be re- 
pealed, and a very interesting report on the subject was 
made on January 30, 1817, by P. L. Morel, chairman of 
the committee on commerce and manufactures. Atten- 
tion was called to the fact that in 1812 the citizens of 
Louisiana witnessed for the first time the " magnificent 
spectacle " exhibited by the steamboat New Orleans navi- 
gating the waters of the Mississippi. " That sublime 
invention " facilitated greatly the intercourse between the 
most distant parts of the State, and diminished by one 
fourth the rate of freight between New Orleans and 
Natchez. In 1813 the Vesuvius was built, and in 1814 the 
JEtna. Unfortunately, the New Orleans was wrecked in 
1814, and the Vesuvius was burned in 1816. A new New 
Orleans was built in 1816, and the Vesuvius sprang up 
again from her ashes. The committee therefore thought 
that the company should be encouraged by all possible 
means. In less than four years they built five steamboats, 


which contributed to give life and prosperity to com- 

In his message to the Legislature on January 6, 1818, 13 
Governor Villere said: 

Only three years have elapsed since the United States were yet 
contending against the pretended mistress of the seas, for the 
preservation of their rights, the protection of their commerce, their 
honor, and perhaps their independence. During that contest, the 
most just which a republic ever waged against a powerful monarch, 
we learned to appreciate those resources which a free and gener- 
ous people can ever find in their patriotism and valor against the 
most formidable enemies. Signal victories crowned on every side 
the courage of our heroes. The world applauded our success and 
learned to respect us. . . . The Louisianian who retraces the 
condition of his country under the government of kings, can never 
cease to bless the day when the great American confederation 
received him in its bosom. 

The governor says that soon the debt of the State will be 
entirely paid and the taxes considerably reduced ; he asks 
that new provisions be adopted concerning the crime of 
dueling, which he calls a " prejudice worthy only of the 
black ages" ; he refers to the yellow fever, which extended 
its ravages over New Orleans in the summer of 1817, and 
suggests that a lazaretto be established. Finally he men- 
tions the death of Claiborne, " one of our best patriots, 
one of our citizens the most distinguished for his virtues 
and his talents, as well as for the services which he had 
rendered to the country." 

On March 5, 1818, Governor Villere sent another mes- 
sage to the Legislature, in which he refers to the disorders 


that took place in New Orleans in February, caused by the 
prodigious increase of the population, and he recommends 
that a regulation be adopted to protect the State against 
the immigration of unprincipled foreigners. 14 On Janu- 
ary 6, 1819, the governor says in his message that party 
spirit has almost entirely disappeared, and that hardly any 
remembrance remains of " those dangerous distinctions 
which had been created by idle prejudices between citizens 
of different origins." 15 He reports that the militia is 
being thoroughly reorganized; and that, owing to the 
creation of the criminal court of the city of New Orleans, 
there has been perfect security in the city. He says 
the debt of the State has been reduced to ten thousand 
dollars. He asks that a penitentiary be established, in 
order that the unfortunate debtor be not confounded with 
the condemned malefactor in the same prison. And he 
makes a strong plea for better facilities for education, 
suggesting that the science of public law be taught to 
youth, even at the expense of the government, in order 
that " children be taught from their tender age that they 
are members of the Sovereign, that, as such, it is their duty 
to contribute to the common good, to make all their exer- 
tions for promoting the welfare of society, and to shun 
whatever may disconcert its harmony, interrupt good 
order, or disturb tranquillity." 

In his message to the Legislature on January 5, 1820, 16 
Governor Villere passes in review the condition of Eu- 
rope, predicts that liberty will soon triumph there, and 
draws a pleasing picture of the condition of the United 
States and of Louisiana, of which the population has 


trebled since the cession. He says, however, that the pros- 
perity of the State would have been much greater if it had 
not been visited by the scourges of war and yellow fever, 
and he regrets that the lazaretto established existed but 
for one year. The steamboats have carried the disease to 
the highest situations bordering on the Mississippi, and 
efficacious measures should be taken to prevent the conta- 
gion from being introduced by ships coming from other 
countries. The governor announces that the debt of the 
State has been entirely extinguished, and that forty thou- 
sand dollars remain in the treasury for current expenses. 
He recommends the formation of a code of procedure 
and the revision of the criminal laws, which are so anti- 
quated that trial by battle is still allowed as in England, 
although rarely resorted to in that country. 

On November 22, 1820, Governor Villere sent his last 
message to the Legislature. 17 He gives good advice on 
the subject of education, and says: 

It is especially to be wished, that means might be discovered 
of educating our youth in such a manner as to give the children 
of all our citizens, of various origins, if not the same moral 
features, at least a distinctive national character. 

He takes the liberty of reminding the Legislature that 
" the important and delicate functions of preceptors 
ought to be generously paid." He asks that measures of 
precaution be taken against yellow fever, which had again 
ravaged New Orleans in the summer of 1820. He 
does not agree with the medical faculty that the disease is 
not contagious but constitutional, — that is to say, natural 


to the climate, — and he proves his assertion by mentioning 
the fact that out of a large number of prisoners in New 
Orleans not a single one was affected by the malady. 
This was due to their having been sequestered from the 
rest of the world and protected from immediate contact 
with persons affected with the fever. The governor was 
certainly wiser in his day than the whole medical faculty 
of Louisiana. His services were appreciated by the 
House, and on motion of Edward Livingston a commit- 
tee was appointed to prepare an address expressive of the 
approbation of the House and constituents of the gov- 
ernor's administration, and " particularly of the impar- 
tiality and moderation with which he has endeavored to 
extinguish the spirit of party and promote union among 
all the citizens of this State." The Speaker, Armand 
Beauvais, appointed on the committee Livingston, Mo- 
reau Lislet, and Philemon Thomas, and they reported 
to the House, on November 24, a beautiful address, 
which was adopted and presented to Governor Villere. 

On November 21, 1820, the returns of elections were 
read before the Legislature as follows: Thomas B. Rob- 
ertson, nineteen hundred and three votes; Pierre Der- 
bigny, eleven hundred and eighty-seven votes; A. L. 
Duncan, ten hundred and thirty-one votes; Jean Noel 
Destrehan, six hundred and twenty-seven votes. Robert- 
son and Derbigny, according to the Constitution, were 
proclaimed to be the candidates who were to be balloted 
for ; but Moreau Lislet, in the name of Mr. Derbigny, de- 
clared that the latter had too much respect for the will of 
the people to be considered a candidate for governor, and 

1820] EDUCATION 191 

that he wished his friends to vote for Mr. Robertson. 
Thereupon Thomas Boiling Robertson was elected gov- 
ernor by the General Assembly. The new chief magis- 
trate was a Virginian by birth, and had been the first 
representative of the State in Congress in 1812. His 
administration, like that of his predecessor, was marked 
by no great event. 

A joint committee of both houses, on December 11, 
1820, made a report on public education, 18 signed by 
Laroque Turgeau from the House of Representatives, 
and Bernard Marigny from the Senate. The report says 
that although the University of the Territory was incor- 
porated by the law in 1805, it was only in 1811 that funds 
were really appropriated for that purpose and that the 
College of Orleans and grammar-schools in the counties 
were established. The committee lays stress on the neces- 
sity for colleges, and recommends that three colleges be 
added to the College of Orleans — one in Florida, one in 
Acadia, and the other at some central place in the western 
parishes. The College of Orleans was bound to admit 
gratis fifty day scholars. It received from the State four 
thousand dollars per annum, and the grammar-schools six 
hundred dollars each. The committee was of opinion that 
the annual appropriation for the College of Orleans 
should be increased to six thousand dollars, and that of 
each grammar-school to eight hundred dollars. Each of 
the State colleges should admit gratis eight boarders, for 
whose clothing, books, etc., the State would pay three hun- 
dred and fifty dollars a year to each of the four colleges. 
Each college should also admit gratis twelve daj^ pupils, 


and each grammar-school eight day pupils, to whom 
would be furnished books, paper, and pens. The follow- 
ing schedule of expenses was presented: 

Twenty-six grammar-schools endowed with $800 each. . $20,800 

Three new colleges, $4000 each 12,000 

The College of Orleans 6,000 

Expenses of clothing, washing, paper, books, etc., for 

eight pupils in each college [four colleges] at $350. . 1,400 

Total annual expenditure $40,200 

For the purchase or erection of buildings for the three 
proposed colleges, fifteen thousand dollars was to be ap- 

The College of Orleans, which began its existence in 
1811, was closed in 1826. It was on a large tract of land, 
on a portion of which stands now the church of St. Au- 
gustin, at the corner of Hospital and St. Claude streets. 
Charles Gayarre, the historian, was educated at the Col- 
lege of Orleans, and he gives an interesting account of it 
in his novel, " Fernando de Lemos." He mentions among 
the professors Jules Davezac, principal in 1812; Roche- 
fort, who was an enthusiast for poetry and Latin ; Teintu- 
rier, the mathematician; and Joseph Lakanal, the last 
principal, whose appointment to that office is said to have 
injured the institution. Lakanal, however, was a very 
distinguished man and had rendered great services in 
France, at the time of the Convention, as chairman of the 
committee on education. To him were due most of the 
important measures adopted by the Convention with re- 

1820] EDUCATION 193 

gard to the Normal School, the Bureau of Longitudes, 
and the primary and central schools. He voted for the 
execution of Louis XVI in 1793, and this act is said to 
have been the cause of his unpopularity as principal or 
president of the College of Orleans. He was a member 
of the Council of Five Hundred during the Directory, 
and later was commissioner-general for the Rhine depart- 
ment, where he displayed great activity. During the 
Consulate and the Empire he was a teacher in Paris and 
an inspector of weights and measures. At the restoration 
of the Bourbons, Lakanal was proscribed as a regicide, 
and went to the United States. Congress made him a 
grant of five hundred acres of land, and Jefferson re- 
ceived him cordially. He was elected president of the 
College of Orleans, but resigned that office in 1825. He 
established himself on a farm on Mobile Bay, and resided 
there until 1837, when he returned to France. He passed 
his last years in Paris, a zealous member of the Academy 
of Moral and Political Sciences. 19 Lakanal was born at 
Sevres, France, in 1762, and died in Paris in 1845. A 
few years ago a statue was erected to him, and several 
Louisianians sent to France their little piece of marble 
for the monument of a man who had honored Louisiana 
by being president of her first college. 

The College of Orleans closed its doors in 1826, and the 
College of Louisiana was established at Jackson, East 
Feliciana. This was succeeded by the Centenary College 
of Louisiana. Great exertions were made for many years 
to establish an efficient system of education, but the mis- 
take was committed of appropriating large sums of 


money for colleges and secondary schools and compara- 
tively little for primary and grammar schools. Mr. R. 
M. Lusher, who was State superintendent of education 
several years, says that from 1812 to 1845 inclusive, 
" prior to the establishment of a general system of ele- 
mentary free public schools, Louisiana expended for the 
support of education $1,636,897.61," chiefly for foster- 
ing academies and colleges. 20 In 1834 the secretary of 
state was made ex-officio superintendent of schools, to 
receive reports from parish officers and have them brought 
before the grand jury if derelict in their duties. In the 
same year, 1834, Governor A. B. Roman uttered the fol- 
lowing wise words : 

Common schools, wholly free, are the only ones that can suc- 
ceed under our form of government. They break down the odious 
distinction which exists in those in Louisiana between the children 
of the poor and those of the rich, they oblige the rich as well as 
the poor to be interested in the selection of competent teachers to 
take charge of them, and they offer the best of all possible guar- 
antees, to wit : experience. This infallible teacher of all statesmen 
of the land has proved that the project of educating the indigent 
class gratuitously, in schools opened for the children of the opu- 
lent, who pay for their instruction, is an illusion in a country 
where the first ideas imbibed by man are those of liberty and 

The public-school system of Louisiana was really 
created by the Constitution of 1845. Before that date 
there were in New Orleans several good private schools, 
and the Medical College of Louisiana, which was char- 
tered in 1835. In the parish of St. James the College of 

1820] EDUCATION 195 

Jefferson was opened in 1834, principally through the 
efforts of Governor Roman. 21 " It contained," says De 
Bow, " a numerous body of able professors, averaged 
during the last five years of its existence above two hun- 
dred pupils, and could be compared without any disad- 
vantage to any other institution of the Union." Unfor- 
tunately, the main buildings were destroyed by a fire in 
1842, and the institution did not recover from that shock 
and soon closed its doors. The College of Jefferson be- 
came the Louisiana College in 1855, and took again the 
name of Jefferson in March, 1861. Its principal bene- 
factor was the distinguished planter and philanthropist 
Valcour Aime, of St. James parish, whose munificence 
enabled the Marist Fathers, in 1865, to acquire the land 
and buildings of Jefferson College and reopen it. 

At Grand Coteau, at a beautiful spot in the Attakapas 
country, the Jesuits established in 1835 the College of St. 
Charles. The Ursuline nuns, who had moved into their 
new building in 1824, continued to have a flourishing 
school for girls. Education in Louisiana, from the time 
of the cession to the year 1845, was not neglected, and it 
is a mistake to believe that there were few educated per- 
sons at that time. Some, especially the wealthy sugar- 
planters, sent their sons to France to be educated. The 
Louisianians are to 'be praised for their efforts in behalf 
of education, although they made the mistake of attend- 
ing more to academies and colleges than to public 
schools. Laroque Turgeau and Bernard Marigny, in 
1820, were animated with the best intentions, and their 
report deserves respectful consideration. 


On December 18, 1820, Thomas B. Robertson took the 
oath of office and delivered his inaugural address. 22 He 
does not appear to have had a clear conception of the 
duties of the three great departments of government, 
when he says that the Legislature is the paramount au- 
thority, and adds: 

Here, in this great American democracy, the people respect 
first themselves, then their legislators, and afterwards bestow on 
their executive, judicial, and ministerial agents that countenance 
which their talents and virtues may entitle them to receive. 

The governor expresses the hope that a treaty concluded 
with Spain will not be ratified, as it is paying too dear a 
price for Florida to abandon Texas, to which " our title," 
according to the President and the Secretary of State, 
" was as clear and indisputable as that to the city of New 
Orleans itself." Governor Robertson says he can see 
nothing in the political affairs of the country that can en- 
danger the Union of the States, which " is necessary to our 
respectability abroad and happiness at home," and yet he 
refers to a " newly invented sympathy for a certain de- 
scription of our population," and the ominous word 
" slavery " appears for the first time in a state paper in 
Louisiana. The governor approves of ex-Governor Vil- 
lere's recommendations about protection against yellow 
fever, although he has no decided opinion about contagion. 
In his message of January 9, 1822, Governor Robert- 
son complains of the defenseless condition in which the 
General Government leaves Louisiana, and concludes a 
rather uninteresting message with the expression of his 


" ardent admiration of the noble and successful struggle " 
in Mexico and South America, and of his " abhorrence of 
the modern champions of slavery and superstition " in 
Europe. The governor impresses us as having been a 
very ardent republican of the exaggerated type. His 
messages are much more fiery than those of his prede- 
cessor, and lack judicial calmness. 

The annual messages of the governors give almost com- 
pletely the history of the quiet times before the Civil War, 
and there is little else to notice in the chronicles of those 
days. In 1821 the first Methodist Episcopal Church was 
organized. It had been preceded by the " First Presby- 
terian Church of New Orleans," organized in 1818. Lot- 
teries were then a popular way of raising funds for public 
improvements and for charitable and religious organiza- 
tions, and the Legislature freely granted the privilege. 
In 1822 the Louisiana Legion was formed out of the vol- 
unteer companies of New Orleans. 

On January 6, 1823, A. B. Roman of St. James parish, 
was elected Speaker of the House, and on January 7 
Governor Robertson sent his message to the Legislature. 23 
He refers to the report of the Board of Health, and says 
that if quarantine has produced no good effect it should 
he abandoned on account of the hindrance to commerce. 
He complains that the United States Government has 
failed to dispose of a large quantity of land in the State, 
thus impeding progress and internal improvement. He 
says pirates and murderers are ravaging the neighboring 
seas and that the defenses required are neglected by the 
Federal Government. In another message the governor 


speaks very sensibly about the market price of things, and 
says he is opposed to regulating the price by law. 

The year 1823 was marked by extraordinarily cold 
weather. On February 16, after a summer heat, a severe 
frost set in, " the water near the banks of the river was 
frozen, and persons skated on the marshes. All the 
orange-trees were killed, watermen in their boats, negroes 
in their cabins, cattle in the forests, perished from cold." 24 
Valcour Aime of St. James parish, in his exceedingly ac- 
curate Plantation Diary, mentions the cold in February 
as follows: 

Weather pretty fair in February, until the 15th; thermometer 
on the 15th, 10°, Reaumur, below zero. Ice was thick enough 
on the batture to bear the weight of a person, and the cold so 
intense that cane planted, which had not previously received rain, 
froze in the ground. 25 

In 1823 the Legislature authorized the establishment 
of six gambling-houses in New Orleans, on condition that 
each should pay five thousand dollars for the benefit of the 
Charity Hospital and of the College of Orleans. 26 

On January 5, 1824, Governor Robertson began his 
message with words that remind us of the men of the eigh- 
teenth century — of the Girondists and the Jacobins: 

Fortunately for mankind, the principles on which liberty and 
happiness depend, are, of all others, the most simple and easiest 
understood. Strip them of the tinsel, clear them of the rubbish 
with which they have been artfully surrounded by tyranny and 
superstition, they exhibit themselves with a native grace, an at- 
tractive charm, that none but the inveterately perverse have either 
the inclination or the power to withstand. 27 


After this philosophical effusion, the governor gives very- 
good advice. He asks for the repeal of laws authorizing 
imprisonment for debt, and says with commendable 
warmth : 

The spirit of our government, the epoch at which we live, the 
dictates of justice, and the feelings of every honest heart, all 
revolt against this odious legacy of ages passed away. 

We are glad to hear from Governor Robertson that the 
General Government, since his last message, had attended 
to the fortifications and military works of the State, and 
that Captain David Porter, the hero of Valparaiso, had 
hunted the pirates through their hiding-places and in- 
flicted upon them the chastisement their crimes demanded. 
But no relief had been obtained from the government 
with regard to public lands. The season in Louisiana had 
been eminently disastrous, owing to inundations and 
storms, but the governor adds that the city in 1823 was 
almost entirely exempt from contagious diseases, and he 
paints a vivid picture of the future prosperity of Louisi- 
ana. He concludes this topic by " summing up in one 
ennobling word countless sources of happiness and exul- 
tation, — we are Americans, citizens of the only free, 
peaceful, and enlightened government on earth." He has 
abhorrence of Europe. An atrocious war is raging in 
Spain, and France, " once the friend of freedom and of 
man," is binding chains on the Spanish people by help- 
ing the despot Ferdinand VII. Greece alone com- 
mands the warmest sympathy. The events in Europe in- 
dicate hostility against free governments, and " are we 


not already told that our neighbors, in this continent of 
America, are to be brought within the pale of legitimate 
government, through the tender mercies of an unholy 
band of crowned conspirators? " We agree entirely with 
Governor Robertson in his opinion about Ferdinand VII 
and the war for Greek independence, but we can 
hardly understand why such subjects were brought to the 
attention of the Legislature of Louisiana. They would 
have been more appropriate in a message of the President 
of the United States to Congress. 

In December, 1823, James Brown resigned his seat in 
the United States Senate to accept the office of minister 
to France, and on January 15, 1824, Josiah Stoddart 
Johnston received twenty -nine votes for senator, and Ed- 
ward Livingston twenty-seven. Governor Robertson, 
having accepted the appointment of judge of the United 
States District Court, sent in his resignation as governor 
on November 15, 1824, and Henry Schuyler Thibodaux, 
president of the Senate, became acting governor. He 
filled that office until December 13, 1824, when Governor 
Henry Johnson was inaugurated. 

Henry Johnson had been elected governor by the 
Legislature on November 17, 1824. He had received 
twenty-eight hundred and forty-seven popular votes; 
ex-Governor Villere, eighteen hundred and thirty-one; 
Bernard Marigny, fourteen hundred and twenty-seven; 
and Thomas Butler, one hundred and eighty-four. Al- 
though the choice from the two candidates receiving the 
largest number of votes was vested in the Legislature, it 
was really the popular votes that elected the governor, as 


the Legislature always followed the will of the people. 
Dominique Bouligny was elected to succeed Henry John- 
son in the United States Senate. He was the son of Don 
Francisco Bouligny, who had come to Louisiana with 
O'Reilly in 1 769. Governor Johnson, like Governor Rob- 
ertson, was a Virginian by birth. His political career in 
Louisiana was long, as he became again a representative 
and a senator in Congress after the expiration of his 
term as governor. He died in 1867, aged eighty-eight 
years. 28 Governor Robertson died in 1828. 

On December 13, 1824, Acting-Governor Thibodaux 
delivered a short but modest and sensible speech, and Gov- 
ernor Henry Johnson delivered his inaugural address. 29 
He said that in the few years that had elapsed since Loui- 
siana became part of the Union her citizens " have evinced 
ample capacity for freedom and self-government." He 
expressed the great pleasure it gave the people of the 
State that General Lafayette should have consented to 
become the guest of Louisiana as well as of the nation, and 
he made the following reference to the newly propounded 
Monroe Doctrine: 

The policy adopted in relation to those nations struggling for 
liberty, particularly those of southern America, who are more im- 
mediately in our vicinity, whilst it displays a just sympathy for 
the cause in which they are contending, evidences an active vigi- 
lance to maintain our own independence, and to oppose any at- 
tempt on the part of the combined sovereigns that may seem to 
endanger it. 

Governor Johnson's inaugural address is calmer than that 
of Governor Robertson, and his words about the neces- 


sity of education and of moral and religious obligations 
are well put. 

The Louisiana State Bank was established in 1824, and 
the State delivered to the institution bonds for two mil- 
lion four hundred thousand dollars in payment of twenty 
thousand shares. On January 22, 1825, General Carroll 
visited New Orleans, and a committee was appointed by 
the Legislature to express to him the sentiments of grati- 
tude of the people of Louisiana. The general replied 
with his characteristic modesty : 

Gentlemen: I regret exceedingly that I am unable to do jus- 
tice to my own feelings, in making my acknowledgments for this 
unexpected mark of kindness on the part of the General Assembly 
of Louisiana. The events to which you have been pleased to refer, 
in relation to the defence of this city during the war, terminated 
fortunately and gloriously. But Tennessee, whose militia I had 
the honor to command on that memorable occasion, claims to her- 
self no peculiar credit for the part she bore in the arduous and 
interesting struggle. She was discharging a duty which she owes 
to every State in the Union in case of invasion, and one which 
she is persuaded Louisiana would reciprocate under similar cir- 
cumstances with cheerfulness and alacrity. For myself, I have 
nothing to say. I was an humble auxiliary to Jackson, whose 
fame as a soldier will brighten with time, and to whom this coun- 
try is more indebted for military services than to any other man, 
Washington excepted. 30 

The general ended his address by thanking the Assembly 
for their distinguished attention, and assuring them " that 
hereafter, as formerly, should an emergency occur, my 
best exertions shall be cheerfully given in support of 
whatever may tend to promote the security, prosperity, 
and happiness of Louisiana." 


On January 27, 1825, J. Roffignac, mayor of New Or- 
leans, sent to the House and to the Senate copies of a let- 
ter from General Lafayette to the corporation of the city, 
announcing his arrival in New Orleans early in the 
spring. A joint committee of the Legislature and of the 
City Council was appointed to concert measures for the 
reception of the general. The steamer Natchez was sent 
to Mobile by the city of New Orleans, to carry Lafayette 
to Louisiana. On board the steamer was a delegation, at 
the head of which was Joseph Armand Duplantier, an old 
friend and companion in arms of the general. The 
steamer arrived early on April 10 at Jackson's lines at 
Chalmette, and Lafayette landed amidst the firing of ar- 
tillery and the acclamations of a large crowd. Leaning 
on the arm of General Villere and on that of Mr. Duplan- 
tier, he was conducted to the house where Jackson had his 
headquarters during the battle of January 8, 1815. He 
was received by Governor Johnson, who addressed him as 
follows: 31 

General: Louisiana enjoys to-day the happiness of receiving 
on her soil the man whom a whole people, by a unanimous voice, 
has saluted with the glorious title of the guest of the nation; 
the man who, fighting for the cause of liberty and humanity, shed 
his blood for her long before she had appeared as a new star in 
the federal constellation. 

The governor alluded then to the progress made in half 
a century by the States that were the immediate theater 
of the war. He continued : 

Louisiana will offer you a delightful and consoling spectacle, 
which none of the other States have been able to present to you ; 


you will acquire there the sweet conviction that your generous 
efforts for the cause of liberty have not been unfruitful for all 
those who pride themselves on having with you a common origin. 
This State, founded by Frenchmen, and of which the greater part 
of the inhabitants are their descendants, enjoys fully, as a mem- 
ber of the American confederation, that liberty for which you have 
fought and shed your blood. The moderate and wise use that 
the French have made here of that liberty, answers in a tri- 
umphant manner those who have proclaimed them unworthy of 
it, and who have calumniated you for having labored to obtain 
for them that greatest of all benefactions. On the lands watered 
by this superb river and by its tributaries, on which less than fifty 
years ago civilization had not traced its luminous furrow, you will 
find States formed spontaneously, strong in resources and in all 
the vigor of youth. Where the Indian wandered in vast solitudes, 
you will find fields covered with rich crops, flourishing cities, an 
active commerce, and a population free and enterprising, culti- 
vating everywhere with success the arts that ennoble man and make 
the charm of social life. In calculating only the sum of present 
happiness, you might still be satisfied; but in turning your eyes 
toward the future, with what delight will you see the prosperity 
continually increasing in future ages ! Rapid in its course, civil 
and religious liberty will march without a pause; its exhaustless 
energy will multiply everywhere its new creations, new States will 
succeed each other, and millions of free men hidden in the 
future will bless with the same fervor and the same enthusiasm 
that animate us to-day, the illustrious philanthropists whose vir- 
tues have raised the glorious edifice of American liberty. As first 
magistrate, and speaking in the name of all Louisianians, I re- 
peat to you, be welcome on this land discovered by your ancestors. 

Lafayette replied as follows : 

When I saw myself on this majestic river, within the limits 
of this republic from which I received an invitation so honorable 


and so affectionate, sentiments of American and French patriotism 
united in my heart, as they were united in that happy Union 
which has made of Louisiana a member of the great American 
confederation, established for the happiness of several millions 
of living men, for that of so many other millions yet to be born, 
and for the example of the human race. But I feel an emotion 
still greater on receiving, on this celebrated soil, in the name of 
the people of this State, by the voice of its first magistrate, a 
greeting so affectionate. It is here, gentlemen, that under the con- 
duct of General Jackson, after a vigorous attack against the 
enemy who was coming to invade this territory, the blood of the 
sons of my revolutionary contemporaries was mingled with that 
of the children of Louisiana, on the memorable day when an in- 
comparable victory, if we consider the circumstances, ended in 
such a glorious manner a war just in principle, and maintained 
with glory on both elements. 

You have kindly, sir, congratulated me on the satisfaction given 
to me by the marvels I have witnessed and by those that remain 
for me to see — satisfaction so much the more delightful for an 
American veteran, that we find in these marvels irresistible -argu- 
ments in favor of the principles for which we raised the banner 
of independence and liberty. I thank you particularly for the 
obliging and liberal observation which you have made, that in this 
State one can be convinced of the aptitude which a French popu- 
lation has of using wisely the benefits of a free government ; and 
I take the liberty to add that one finds consequently in this 
aptitude the proof of the part which the European despots and 
aristocrats have had in the deplorable excesses that have delayed 
thus far the establishment of liberty in France. 

After Lafayette's address many persons, including vet- 
erans of the War of the Revolution, were introduced to 
him. Many ladies were present, and Bernard Marigny, 
in their name, expressed their sentiments of admiration 


to the general. The whole party then marched toward 
New Orleans and entered the citv amid two lines of 
troops and the booming of cannon and ringing of bells. 
In the center of the Place d' Armes was an arch of triumph 
sixty-eight feet high, designed by Mr. Pilie. This was 
ornamented with allegorical figures and bore the inscrip- 
tion: " A grateful republic has dedicated this monument 
to Lafayette." The general was received under the arch 
of triumph by Mayor RofBgnac, who welcomed him in the 
name of the people of New Orleans. Lafayette ex- 
pressed his gratitude for the reception, and was taken 
afterward to the Court-house, where Denis Prieur ad- 
dressed him in the name of the City Council. The general 
was then conducted to the City Hall (the present Ca- 
bildo) , where he was to reside during his stay in New Or- 
leans. From the balcony of the Cabildo he reviewed the 
troops, among whom were fifty Choctaw Indians march- 
ing in single file. The next day the general received the 
visit of members of the Legislature and members of the 
bar of New Orleans. The latter were led by Pierre Der- 
bigny, who addressed Lafayette in their name. In the 
evening the guest of Louisiana went to Caldwell's Eng- 
lish Theater and to the Orleans French Theater, where he 
was received with enthusiasm. Delegations from the 
medical society, from the clergy, from the free men of 
color who had fought under Jackson and many others, 
called upon Lafayette. He attended a public ball and a 
Masonic dinner, and received the visit of the venerable 
Pere Antoine, the former Antonio de Sedella of the time 
of the Spanish domination. Finally, on April 15, 1825, 


the general embarked on board the Natchez and left New 
Orleans. He stopped for a day at Baton Rouge, and was 
greeted with as much enthusiasm as in New Orleans. He 
visited the United States barracks, and there, instead of 
military equipments, he found a large assembly of wo- 
men. Lafayette was charmed with the new garrison at 
the barracks, attended a public banquet in Baton Rouge, 
and late at night reembarked on board the Natchez. 
Governor Johnson accompanied him as far as the town of 
Natchez, and a committee of four Louisianians remained 
with him until he arrived at St. Louis. 32 

On January 2, 1826, Governor Henry Johnson told 
the Legislature that he had made a tour through the 
parishes and found everywhere harmony and good will. 33 
Symptoms of discord manifested themselves on some oc- 
casions in New Orleans, but they were chiefly confined to 
the columns of newspapers. The number of students at 
the College of Orleans, says the governor, does not exceed 
twenty, and it would be better to replace this institution 
by a university where should be taught the sciences of 
law and medicine, and other branches of learning, to those 
who have already completed their scholastic studies. Par- 
ticular attention is called to promoting the prosperity of 
he city of New Orleans; a penitentiary is again recom- 

nded, and vigilance is said to be needed along the fron- 
tier on the Sabine, where disorders and depredations have 
taken place. With regard to lotteries for State exigen- 
cies, or for charitable, religious, or literary institutions, 
Governor Johnson says that " it may deserve inquiry 
whether it is expedient to resort, for any object whatever, 


to a mode of raising money so uncertain in its results, and 
so extravagantly expensive when effectual." 

The first session of the eighth Legislature was opened 
in New Orleans on January 1, 1827. Octave La Branche 
was elected Speaker, and on January 3 Governor John- 
son sent in his annual message. This document refers 
mainly to proposed internal improvements, such as canals 
from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain, to the At- 
takapas and to Barataria Bay and the Island of Grande 
Terre. Mention is made of the death of ex-Presidents 
Adams and Jefferson, both of whom died on July 4, 1826, 
and the governor suggests relief for the family of the lat- 
ter. " Next to Virginia, his native land, no State in the 
Union owes such a debt of gratitude to the departed sage 
as Louisiana." The sum of ten thousand dollars was of- 
fered to Jefferson's family by an act of the Legislature. 
The punishment of the pillory for white persons was abol- 
ished in 1827. In the same year the " Consolidated Asso- 
ciation of the Planters of Louisiana " was established. 34 
Its capital was two millions of dollars, increased later by 
five hundred thousand dollars. Its stock was secured by 
mortgages on real estate and even on slaves. The planters 
obtained money easily, and spent it freely. A few profited 
by the system, but a large number were ruined. 

On January 8, 1828, General Jackson was received by 
the Legislature and welcomed by Governor Johnson as 
the " Guest of Louisiana," as Lafayette had been in 1825. 
Jackson was received also by the people of New Orleans 
with enthusiasm. 

At the first session of the ninth Legislature, which be- 


gan on November 17, 1828, A. B. Roman was again 
elected Speaker of the House, and Pierre Derbigny was 
elected governor on November 18. His principal com- 
petitor had been Judge Thomas Butler. The last mes- 
sage of Governor Henry Johnson was unimportant ex- 
cept with regard to the public lands. He says that of the 
twenty-five millions of acres vacant at the time of the ces- 
sion, only one hundred and eighty-two thousand acres had 
been sold in 1828. The prosperity of the State had been 
greatly retarded by the jurisdiction still exercised by the 
United States over the public lands. 

Pierre Derbigny was born at Laon, France, about 
1778. 35 Before being elected Governor of Louisiana he 
had occupied offices in the Territory and in the State, 
among them that of judge of the Supreme Court, which 
was organized in 1813. " The first three judges of the 
Supreme Court," says De Bow, 36 " were Dominick A. 
Hall, George Matthews, and Pierre Derbigny. Hall 
soon resigned, discovering that his knowledge of civil 
law was too limited for the office, and his place the year 
after, 1815, was filled by Judge Martin. These jurists 
were all eminent. Derbigny, it is said, united with all the 
learning and science requisite to place him in the first rank 
of jurists, the sterling integrity and unsullied honor that 
made him an ornament of the bench. Judge Derbigny re- 
signed his seat in 1820 in favor of Judge Porter." 

Governor Derbigny was inaugurated on December 15, 
1828. 37 In his address he speaks of the great example of- 
fered to the world by the people of the United States, and 
mentions the prodigious increase in their strength, know- 


ledge, and wealth in the short space of half a century. 
In spite of so many advantages, and " in the full enjoy- 
ment of the most extensive national liberty," discord had 
reigned in the country. " Let us lay aside all animosities 
arising from party feeling, all invidious distinctions of 
origin and language." The governor advises economy 
and a just proportion between expenditures and revenue; 
he considers the question of education as of vital impor- 
tance, and he announces the completion of the code of 
criminal law by Edward Livingston. This was a volume 
of eight hundred pages, and De Bow says of this work: 38 
" Mr. Livingston made a great book, but one of little 
practical utility. It consists of five divisions — a Code of 
Crimes and Punishments, a Code of Procedure, a Code 
of Evidence, a Code of Reform and Prison Discipline, 
a Book of Definitions. In this undertaking Mr. Hoff- 
man has said he has shown himself a philosophical legis- 
lator, possessed of all the capabilities of the late Jeremy 
Bentham, but without any of his objectionable peculiar- 
ities, together with all the wisdom of Montesquieu, and 
the animating and ennobling philanthropy of Beccaria." 
Livingston prepared also an elaborate system of penal 
law for the United States, which was printed by order of 
Congress. This distinguished legislator was elected 
United States senator from Louisiana in 1829, and in 
1831 he became Secretary of State in Jackson's cabinet. 
In 1833 he was sent to France as minister plenipotenti- 
ary, to negotiate the indemnity of twenty-five million 
francs for damages inflicted during the wars of Napo- 
leon. Livingston died in 1836. He was born at Cler- 


mont, New York, in 1764. Mignet, the French historian, 
pays him the following tribute : 39 

In spite of the imperfections inseparable from such a great 
work, the penal legislation of Livingston presents a vast and 
superb whole. His four codes are coordinated, and complete each 
other. They are like a vault, of which each stone would form the 
key. If one were taken off, all would crumble down. He has 
said so himself with the just sentiment of the merit of his book. 
Indeed, Livingston, providing in general for the defence of so- 
ciety with the sentiment of justice, proceeding to the pursuit of 
crime with the respect of right, seeking the proof of facts with 
taste for truth and need for certainty, and punishing the culprits 
with desire for their reform, has composed a book that recom- 
mends itself to the attention of philosophers as a beautiful sys- 
tem of ideas, and to the use of nations as a vast code of rules. 

In 1829 the New Orleans Gas Light Company was 
incorporated, and a levee system throughout the State 
was provided for by an act of the Legislature. The 
Committee on Internal Improvements had made an in- 
teresting report, on January 14, 1829, on the dangers of 
inundation from the Mississippi. They said that the Leg- 
islature had thought proper, some years ago, to author- 
ize the stopping of the river Iberville at the points where 
the Mississippi made a debouche. By straight lines the 
river would make its course more direct to the ocean, but 
it was another question how far the inhabitants of the 
bends would like to be placed on false rivers. " It has 
often been remarked that civilized man took possession 
of the lower Mississippi too soon by upwards of one hun- 
dred years. Had the delta remained unmolested by the 


art of man to this day, the river would not perhaps over- 
flow its natural banks at any points, where levees are 
now created, and the face of the interior alluvial country 
would have been much more elevated." The very high 
embankments on the Po were mentioned by the commit- 
tee, and they said that, if such a system is not to be relied 
upon as respects the Po, it is certainly not sufficient to 
restrain the wild fury of the Mississippi. With regard to 
outlets, the committee's words are very judicious: "If 
drains and sluices are to become in part our dependence, 
these, following the laws which the parent stream imposes 
upon them, will require embankments. When these be- 
come insufficient, new drains and sluices will be required 
from these outlets, and we shall have removed over and 
over again all the features of the parent stream, less 
strong in character, but strikingly portrayed in minia- 
ture." The river may be straightened at some points, 
but " may it not rush through some opposite bends and 
meet the ocean by new routes? " " Before another year 
the Mississippi may of its own will take leave of Red 
River, which has so long been compelled to pay its tribute, 
and may command the Atchafalaya to receive that tribu- 
tary. By a sudden caprice, or by slower inroads, it may 
break in upon Red River again, and once more accept its 
waters." The committee recommend an appeal to the 
General Government, and ask for the aid and services of 
skilful engineers. The report is signed by W. S. Ham- 
ilton, chairman. 

Governor Derbigny's administration came to an end 
suddenly on October 7, 1829. His horses ran away, and 


he was thrown from his carriage. He died five days 
afterward, greatly regretted by the people, who appreci- 
ated his ability and high character. The president of the 
Senate, Armand Beauvais, became acting governor and 
filled that office until January 14, 1830. In that year the 
Legislature met at Donaldsonville, and its most impor- 
tant act was the incorporation of the Pontchartrain Rail- 
road Company, one of the earliest of its kind in the 
United States. 40 It was also decreed that an election of 
governor be held in July, and that one of the persons 
voted for should be elected governor by the Legislature 
for the term of four years. Jacques Dupre, who had 
been elected president of the Senate, succeeded Beauvais 
as acting governor. He held the office one year, from 
January, 1830, to January, 1831, and gave a rare ex- 
ample of moderation in relinquishing it to A. B. Roman 
before the full term of Governor Derbigny had expired. 
Governor Dupre was noted for his excellent judgment. 
The winter of 1830 was very severe, and the orange- 
trees were again destroyed. 41 The first session of the 
tenth Legislature was begun at Donaldsonville on Janu- 
ary 3, 1831. 42 Among the members of the House 
were W. C. C. Claiborne, a son of the former governor; 
Charles Gayarre, the historian; Trasimond Landry, who 
became lieutenant-governor of Louisiana; and Alcee 
La Branche, who became Speaker of the House. Charles 
Derbigny, a son of the late governor, was a member of the 
Senate. Alexandre Mouton, of Lafayette, who was 
elected Speaker of the House, was destined to play an 
important part in the history of the State. The returns 


of the election for the office of governor were read, and 
A. B. Roman was found to have received the largest 
number of votes. His principal competitors had been 
Armand Beauvais and W. S. Hamilton, whose report on 
the floods of the Mississippi is mentioned above. He 
had declined to come into competition before the Legis- 
lature with Roman, who had obtained a larger popular 

Acting-Governor Dupre referred in his message to the 
Revolution that had taken place in France in 1830, and 
to the uprising of the people in Belgium and Holland. 
He spoke of the danger of the tariff on sugar being re- 
pealed, and argued that the tariff was not merely an act 
of generosity to Louisiana, inasmuch as the State im- 
ported from other States from seven to eight millions of 
dollars of provisions, goods, etc., and the whole agricul- 
tural product of Louisiana for exportation was worth 
between five and six millions of dollars. The acting gov- 
ernor was in favor of prohibition of the further intro- 
duction of slaves into the State, as the large disparity in 
numbers between the white and the black population 
could not be viewed with indifference or inattention. 
" The annual suppty is gradually pouring in, and scarce 
a ship arrives from the slaveholding States that does not 
come freighted with a living cargo of vice and crime, to 
be disgorged upon our shores and incorporated into our 
domestic establishments." These are strong words, writ- 
ten in 1831 by a slaveholder who understood the danger 
to the State of a large slave population. 

The Legislature refused to accept the apartments pro- 


vided for their accommodation by the citizens of Don- 
aldsonville. They had met in the Court-house on the first 
day of the session, but had been asked to get another 
building, as the next morning the roof of the Court-house 
was to be taken off for repairs. As the Government 
House was not ready for the use of the Legislature, and 
there was difficulty in finding suitable quarters, the Gen- 
eral Assembly adjourned, on January 6, to meet in New 
Orleans on January 8. The question of a building ap- 
pears to have been a pretext, according to the speech of 
Bernard Marigny made in the Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1845 : 43 

Having promised the country members to remove the seat of 
government from New Orleans to the country, some years since, 
to give it a trial, we consented to remove the session of the Legis- 
lature to Donaldsonville — that was the decision, and the location 
was made there. Thanks to the delightful dreamers of those 
days for the future prosperity of Louisiana, said the contractor ; 
for he got fifty thousand dollars for the job of putting up the 
State House. But what was the end of this scheme? The mem- 
bers of the Legislature had scarcely assembled ere they began to 
complain, and many even, it is said, cried with bitterness and 
mortification at being cooped up in so small a place. Every steam- 
boat that landed was boarded by the Legislature, almost in a 
body, to know the news from town. Each day was to them an 
insupportable burden. Each night was fraught with ugly dreams, 
and each succeeding morning they would say, " I would not pass 
another such a night for all the world." At last they all had a 
dream. It seems one and all were taken in charge by Queen Mab, 
and she clearly showed them that the walls of the new State 
House were about to fall over their heads and crush them into 
mummies. Oh, what a catastrophe ! Horrible, indeed ! We could 


not convince them to the contrary, and back they came to New 

On their return to New Orleans, on January 8, both 
houses repaired in a body to the cathedral for the cele- 
bration of the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans. 


Fifteen Years of Growth 
1831 to 1846 

Governor Roman's inaugural address — Address of congratulations to the 
French people on the Revolution of 1830 — Cholera in 1832 — Resolutions 
about nullification — Board of public works created — Riot in New Orleans 
in 1834 — New Orleans divided into three municipalities — Financial troubles 
— Progress of the sugar industry — Documents relating to Louisiana in the 
archives at Paris — Constitutional Convention — Encouragement of literary 
talent — Libraries in New Orleans in 1846 — Reorganization of the Louisiana 
Historical Society— Growth of Louisiana as an American State. 


belonged to a family established in 
Louisiana about 1740. He was born 
in St. Landry parish on March 5, 
1795. His father, Jacques Roman, 
was a native of Louisiana and raised 
immense herds of cattle in the vast 
prairies of the Attakapas country. He moved to St. 
James parish when his son was a child, and became 
a successful sugar-planter. Andre Bienvenu Roman was 
educated at St. Mary's College, Baltimore. After his 
graduation in 1815 he bought a sugar plantation in the 
parish of St. James, and married in 1816. He was elected 
to the House of Representatives in 1818, was Speaker 
of that body four years, then parish judge two years, and 
again Speaker of the House in 1830. After serving four 



years as governor, from 1831 to 1835, A. B. Roman was 
reelected to that office and served from 1839 to 1843. 
He displayed good judgment and unflinching firmness, 
and was, without doubt, one of the ablest governors of 
Louisiana. After his second term, Governor Roman re- 
turned to his plantation and refused to reenter politics. 
He was, however, a member of the Constitutional Con- 
ventions of 1845 and 1852, and of the Secession Con- 
vention of 1861. He was not a secessionist, but he re- 
mained loyal to the State and was one of the three peace 
commissioners sent to Washington by the Confederate 
Government in 1861. After the Civil War Governor 
Roman was appointed recorder of deeds and mort- 
gages in New Orleans, and he died there suddenly while 
walking in the street, on January 26, 1866. W. H. 
Sparks says of him: 1 " Of all the Creole population, A. 
B. Roman was, at this time, the most prominent and the 
most talented. In very early life he was elected gov- 
ernor of the State, and discharged the duties of the office 
with great ability, and, after Claiborne, with more sat- 
isfaction to the people than any man who ever filled the 
office." As president of the draining-company, Gov- 
ernor Roman planned a system of drainage that was very 
helpful to New Orleans. His five brothers were men 
of energy and indomitable courage, and so were his two 
sons — Charles, who fought at Shiloh as acting major of 
the Orleans Guards, and Alfred, who was distinguished 
as a soldier, a man of letters, and a jurist. 

The inaugural address of Governor Roman, on Jan- 
uary 31, 1831, is well written and judicious. 2 He says 


he feels grateful that his election was not due to party 
spirit, and he rejoices at it, because it proves " that in 
Louisiana we are all Louisianians, and that we all belong 
equally to the great American family." He refers to 
affairs in Europe and to the growth of the liberal spirit, 
and devotes a great part of his message to the question 
of education and internal improvements. 

On March 24, 1831, the House of Representatives 
adopted an address to the French people, congratulating 
them on the glorious Revolution of July, 1830. 3 The 
address was prepared by a committee of which Mr. Ga- 
yarre was chairman. It is somewhat bombastic, but is 
very interesting, and we quote a small part of it: 

Frenchmen : Your triumph, which filled every portion of our 
great American family with joy, was hailed with peculiar delight 
in Louisiana. Yes, the voice of France, whether in glory or in 
grief, ever finds an echo in Louisiana. We well know that France 
ever fostered with maternal solicitude the prosperity of Louisiana. 
When necessity separated her from her bosom, she confided her to 
the nation most worthy of the trust, and no doubt felt an emotion 
of pride when that country, which was once a colony of France, 
rose to the station of a sovereign State, and when the American 
star was seen glittering in her forehead. 

Frenchmen, the congratulations we address you come from our 
hearts. May we soon be able to offer similar ones to the other 
nations of the earth. The man of destiny has declared it — a 
revolution in France is a revolution in Europe ! Liberty is then 
about to commence her triumphal march around the globe, and 
we hope, if it be necessary, a French car will carry the divinity. 

The address was to be printed on vellum paper and 
forwarded to the American minister in Paris, to be pre- 


sented to the Chamber of Deputies. Lafayette, on Oc- 
tober 8, 1831, wrote to William C. Rives, the American 
minister in Paris, that the president of the Chamber of 
Deputies had told him that an official communication 
from the Legislature of a foreign state cannot, in France, 
consistently be received, unless it passes through the 
French executive, and that the matter ought to be settled 
previously with the minister of foreign affairs, General 
Sebastiani. The last-named said that the address, being 
from a State Legislature with which, according to the 
federal system, a foreign government could maintain 
no direct relations, " however high the respect he enter- 
tained for the House of Representatives of Louisiana, 
he could not see how he could, with propriety, charge 
himself with the communication of their address." This 
is a curious matter, and we cannot help thinking that 
our worthy legislators in 1831 allowed themselves to be 
carried away a little injudiciously by their love for liberal 
institutions. We could understand their congratulations 
better if France had become a republic. They believed, 
probably, that " Louis-Philippe was the best of repub- 
lics " for France. 

In 1831, from August 16 to August 17, a terrific storm 
drove back the waters of the Gulf into the lakes and 
bayous, and inundated New Orleans. 4 Boats in the river 
were thrown upon the levees, and great damage was done 
in the city and in the country adjacent to the Gulf. In 
1832, the Government House having been burned some 
years previously, the State bought the old building of the 
Charity Hospital in Canal Street, to make of it a State 


House. In the same year a penitentiary was built at 
Baton Rouge. The State, which had often been visited 
with epidemics of yellow fever, suffered severely from 
Asiatic cholera in 1832. In New Orleans more than five 
thousand persons died, and yellow fever raged at the 
same time. Many negroes on the plantations died from 
cholera. " Jackson and cholera," says Debouchel, 
quaintly, " met in the United States, exerting at the same 
time their power." 

On January 7, 1833, Alcee La Branche was elected 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was a son 
of Colonel Alexandre La Branche, and became later a 
member of the United States House of Representatives 
and American charge d'affaires in Texas. 

Governor Roman, in his message of January 7, 1833, 5 
says that the cholera was more fatal in New Orleans than 
in any other city in the Union. In the country its evils 
were slightly felt. The Union Bank, organized in 1832, 
has succeeded in preventing the disastrous results that 
might have followed the withdrawal of large sums by the 
Bank of the United States. The governor refers to the 
nullification proceedings in South Carolina, and says 
that they tend to destroy the very foundations of the 
Union. " Such doctrines find no advocates in Louisi- 
ana." The banking capital at the end of 1832 was $25,- 
873,420. Governor Roman recommended the establish- 
ment of an agricultural society. This was done, and 
some years later the governor became the zealous and 
efficient president of the society. 

In accordance with the governor's message about South 


Carolina, a joint committee of the Senate and House, 
of which Thomas C. Nicholls was chairman, presented, 
on February 4, 1833, the following resolutions, which 
were adopted: 

Resolved, That the attitude assumed towards the government of 
the United States by the State of South Carolina is justified 
neither by necessity nor law ; that the whole course of her policy 
is calculated to involve the Union in unnatural excitement, and 
has a direct tendency to weaken the cause of liberty throughout 
the world. 

Resolved, That it becomes the duty, and it is the determination, 
of Louisiana to support the integrity of the Union, when assailed 
either by internal commotion or foreign aggression. 

The resolutions were to be forwarded to the President 
of the United States, to the governors of the States re- 
spectively, and to the senators and representatives of 
Louisiana in Congress. 

The committee on Federal relations made a long report 
and recommended the following resolutions: 

1st. That nullification and secession are essentially revolu- 
tionary measures, no less irreconcilable to that principle which 
gives life and efficacy to our political institutions, an acquiescence 
in the will of a majority, seeking only redress through an appeal 
to an enlightened public opinion, than they are incompatible with 
every sound principle of government. 

2nd. That the tendency of the late measures of South Caro- 
lina to bring State rights into disrepute is the point of view in 
which they are not the least to be deplored or deprecated. 

3rd. That an ardent attachment to the Union would induce 
this Legislature to yield a hearty approval to any measure calcu- 


lated to restore harmony, without outraging the rights of the 
States on the one hand, or humiliating and degrading the con- 
stitutional powers of the General Government on the other. 

When viewed in the light of subsequent events, the 
resolutions of the Legislature of Louisiana in February, 
1833, sound strange indeed. 

On December 9, 1833, Governor Roman announced to 
the Legislature that cholera had that year ravaged nearly 
the whole State with almost the same intensity as in 1832, 
and that yellow fever had appeared in New Orleans when 
the people had scarcely had time to congratulate them- 
selves on their deliverance from the cholera. 6 Fortu- 
nately, the situation of Louisiana in December, 1833, was 
again prosperous. The governor deplores the death of 
Senator Josiah Stoddart Johnston, who perished in one of 
the frequent steamboat accidents of that time. 

On December 11, 1833, John McDonogh petitioned 
the Legislature, praying to be authorized to educate cer- 
tain slaves. On January 5, 1835, Governor Roman an- 
nounced that a board of public works had been created in 
1833 and referred to the numerous internal improvements 
accomplished from 1831 to 1835. He said the exports of 
Louisiana for 1835 would amount to more than forty 
million dollars — five hundred thousand bales of cotton, 
one hundred thousand hogsheads of sugar, and twenty- 
five thousand hogsheads of tobacco forming the basis of 

In 1834 a riot in New Orleans was caused by the sup- 
posed cruelty of a woman to her slaves. An immense 
crowd attacked her house, and destroyed everything that 


was in it. Seven slaves were found chained and bearing 
marks of cruel treatment. The woman succeeded in es- 
caping the fury of the crowd, and went to live in France. 

On January 12, 1835, Charles Gayarre was elected 
United States senator, but he was unable, through ill- 
ness, to occupy his seat in the Senate. On February 3, 
1835, John R. Grymes made an attack on the person of 
Alcee La Branche, Speaker of the House, while the lat- 
ter was walking toward the chair. After a full investi- 
gation of the facts, Grymes was brought to the bar of the 
House and severely censured by the Speaker pro tempore. 
Mr. Grymes, a Virginian by birth, was one of the ablest 
lawyers in Louisiana. He succeeded, as attorney of the 
city of New Orleans, in making good the city's title to the 
Batture property. " By an agreement of all parties," 
says Sparks, " this Batture was surveyed into squares and 
lots, and sold at public auction, and the money was de- 
posited in the Bank of Louisiana, to the credit of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, to abide the de- 
cision of that tribunal as to the rightful ownership. The 
decision gave it to the city. Grymes, as attorney for the 
city, by order of the court, received a check for the money. 
The bank paid the check, and Grymes appropriated one 
hundred thousand dollars of it as a fee for his services, 
and then deposited the remainder to the credit of the 
Mayor and Council of the city." 7 Another great lawyer 
in those days was Etienne Mazureau, a Frenchman by 
birth, who was for many years attorney-general of Loui- 

Edward Douglass White was elected governor by the 


Legislature, January 6, 1835. His competitor before the 
people had been John R. Dawson. Governor White was 
born in Tennessee, and was educated at the University of 
Nashville. He had filled the offices of judge of the City 
Court of New Orleans and representative to Congress 
before his election as governor. He died in 1847. He 
was the father of Justice E. D. White, of the United 
States Supreme Court. During his administration Loui- 
siana seemed to be " possessed with Bankomania," 8 as 
Jefferson used to say, and several new banks were estab- 
lished. In 1836 New Orleans was divided into three mu- 
nicipalities, each declared to be a distinct corporation, and 
governed by a council composed of a recorder and the 
aldermen elected by the wards within the limits thereof. 
There was one mayoralty, and a general council, com- 
posed of the councils of the three municipalities, with 
power to legislate on points of common interest, over 
which the recorder of the first municipality presided. 
There were twenty-four aldermen in the council of the 
first municipality, ten in that of the second, and seven 
in that of the third. The first municipality comprised 
the region about the old French and Spanish town, the 
second began at the Faubourg St. Mary, and the third 
at the Faubourg Marigny. The mayor had a qualified 
veto. The Faubourg St. Mary improved wonderfully, 
thanks to the enterprise and perseverance of Samuel J. 
Peters and James H. Caldwell. Peters was a merchant 
and a Canadian by birth. Caldwell was a comedian by 
profession, and a native of England. He built, in 1822, 
the first English theater in New Orleans, the Camp Street 


Theater, and was the first to light the city with gas. 
Peters and Caldwell were aided in their projects by- 
Edward York, a merchant of the city. 

In 1837 fourteen banks in New Orleans suspended 
specie payments, 9 and to replace small coin the three 
municipalities issued bills varying in value from one bit 
(escalin) to four dollars. Corporations and individuals 
also issued bills. The new tariff had caused a deprecia- 
tion in the price of sugar, and on some plantations cot- 
ton was cultivated instead of sugar-cane. In 1834 Loui- 
siana had produced one hundred and fifty-five thousand 
bales of cotton; in 1837 the production was two hundred 
and twenty-five thousand bales. There was a great deal 
of speculation, and many failures took place. In 1838 
the banks adopted good financial measures, and in 1839, 
when Governor White retired from office, specie pay- 
ments had been resumed and the financial crisis was 

On February 4, 1839, A. B. Roman was inaugurated 
for the second time governor of Louisiana. His com- 
petitor had been Denis Prieur. In his inaugural ad- 
dress he uses these noble and wise words: 10 

I announced before the election, that I would be the Governor 
of Louisiana, and not the chief of a party. I am proud to repeat 
that declaration here. Recognizing in every citizen the right to 
act and to think freely, in relation to the great political questions 
which divide us, I shall know how to respect in others that inde- 
pendence of opinion which I claim for myself. Those who think 
that it is enough to be honest, capable, and faithful to the con- 
stitution, in order to merit public employments, are themselves,, 
in my opinion, unworthy of any. 


Governor Roman was a Whig in politics, but he was 
not a partisan. He was not one of those politicians who 
declare that the spoils belong to the victor. He recom- 
mended moderation and prudence in dealing with the 
abolitionists, whose " incendiary doctrines " had been sup- 
ported by the influence of some members of Congress 
" whom it would not be unjust to regard as affected with 
mental alienation." The governor referred to the in- 
vasion of the soil of Louisiana by a body of armed men, 
under the command of an officer of the republic of Texas, 
who marched as far as Shreveport. 

On January 7, 1840, Governor Roman sent to the 
Legislature a message in which he treats of the financial 
situation of Louisiana and of the United States. This 
message gives excellent advice about the banking system. 
Andrew Jackson was invited in 1840 by the citizens of 
New Orleans to join them in the commemoration of the 
victory of January 8, 1815. He accepted the invitation, 
and the Legislature requested the people of New Orleans 
to permit them to adopt the invitation to Jackson as that 
of the whole State, and that he be regarded as the guest 
of Louisiana, instead of the guest of New Orleans. Five 
thousand dollars were placed at the disposal of a joint 
committee of the Senate and the House, to defrav the 
expenses of the celebration. 

An agricultural society had been incorporated in 1833, 
of which Governor Roman was president. Its head- 
quarters were in the parish of St. James, on a small farm 
that it had purchased. There were in Louisiana in 1840 
five hundred and twenty-five sugar plantations, employ- 


ing forty thousand laborers and producing annually about 
seventy million pounds of sugar and three hundred and 
fifty thousand gallons of molasses. 11 The price of sugar 
was only three to four cents a pound. 

The first species of the cane cultivated in Louisiana 
was the Malabar, Bengal, or Creole. It was very sweet 
and tender, but was easily frost-bitten and had such 
prickly leaves that often the laborers and mules were 
wounded by the thorns. The Tahiti species was intro- 
duced about 1790, but it is not known by whom. The 
third species, the ribbon cane, which superseded the 
former varieties, was originally from Java. It was intro- 
duced into Louisiana by Jean Joseph Coiron, who had 
a plantation at Terre-aux-Boeufs. Mr. Coiron was a 
native of Martinique, and had resided in Savannah, 
Georgia. In 1817 he planted some of the ribbon cane 
in his garden, and "in 1825 he bought a schooner-load 
of them and planted them on his plantation. From this 
plantation they were scattered over the entire State and 
gave a new ardor to sugar culture. Its ability to with- 
stand greater cold enabled the planters to open new plan- 
tations further north, and this greatly enlarged the area 
of cane-growing in Louisiana." 12 Although the sugar- 
planters had to contend against great obstacles, such as 
inundations, or crevasses, tariff fluctuations, and early 
frosts, they were, as a whole, highly successful until 1862. 
They were men of intelligence, of enterprise, and of tire- 
less energy, and it is a great mistake to suppose they led 
lives of idleness. They were as laborious as they were 
honorable, hospitable, and charitable. They at first used 


cattle-power, but in 1822 steam-power was introduced 
and gave a great impetus to the industry. 13 In 1818 the 
crop was twenty-five thousand hogsheads, of about one 
thousand pounds each, and in 1861 it was two hundred 
and thirty-five thousand eight hundred and fifty-one long 

The first planter that ever boiled syrups in vacuum- 
pans in Louisiana was Thomas A. Morgan, of Plaque- 
mines parish, in 1830. Gordon and Forstall, and Val- 
cour Aime, of St. James parish, used the vacuum-pan 
about the same time; but the latter, on account of his 
numerous and costly experiments, is considered the pio- 
neer in refining sugar directly from the cane-juice. 14 

Important articles on sugar and the sugar-cane are 
to be found in " De Bow's Review," contributed by the 
editor, by Valcour Aime, by Edmond J. Forstall, by 
Judge A. P. Rost, and by Judah P. Benjamin. 

The cotton crop in 1840 was about two hundred thou- 
sand bales, of four hundred pounds each. In 1811 the 
crop had been only five thousand bales. There were in 
1840 three public canals, and ten railroads completed or 
begun, and in New Orleans there were sixteen banks, with 
forty branches in the parishes. 

The Presidential election in Louisiana in 1840 was 
very lively, and the Whigs won, the vote of the State 
being cast for William Henry Harrison. The principal 
Whig orators were Mazureau and Seargeant S. Prentiss, 
of Mississippi, and of the Democrats John R. Grymes 
and Pierre Soule. In 1840 imprisonment for debt was 


In his message of January 4, 1841, 15 Governor Roman 
speaks of the intense political excitement of the last 
Presidential election, and recommends the adoption of 
a registry law for voters. He says the solvency of the 
banking institutions in Louisiana is so well established 
that the notes they issue, although not redeemed in specie, 
are at a discount of hardly two per cent. " Their paper 
is in demand throughout the State, and forms very nearly 
the only circulation of a neighboring State." At the 
beginning of 1839 the State owed to the banks seventy- 
five thousand dollars; the debt in 1841 amounted to eight 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Governor Roman 
had vetoed several bills by which State bonds were to be 
issued in favor of incorporated companies. As these bills 
were supposed to be intended to foster internal improve- 
ments, the governor was assailed by nearly all the news- 
papers in the State, and is said to have been burned in 
effigy in his native parish of St. Landry. 16 The banks 
suspended specie payments toward the latter part of 1841, 
and there were great financial difficulties. Governor 
Roman's firmness and excellent judgment in a financial 
crisis were soon highly appreciated by the very persons 
who had attacked him most violently. On the subject of 
the vetoes the governor says: " It was in vain that I urged 
on them [the members of the Legislature] that to incur 
a debt or issue bonds, without providing at the same time 
certain means for their payment, is to vote a tax from 
which in the end the people cannot escape." 

In February, 1841, one of the judges of the Supreme 
Court absented himself from the State, and a joint com- 


mittee of the Senate and the House addressed a let- 
ter on the subject to Francois Xavier Martin, senior 
judge of the Court. The following extract from 
the latter's reply shows the independent spirit of the 
man: "With regard to the motives which induced the 
court to grant him the leave, no one has a right to 
inquire into them: the judiciary is one of the three co- 
ordinate branches of the government, absolutely inde- 
pendent from and irresponsible to either of the other 

On December 13, 1841, Governor Roman informed 
the Legislature that there were in Paris a large number 
of manuscripts relative to the colonial history of Louisi- 
ana, and that he had obtained permission to have them 
examined and copied. This work was done by a Louisi- 
anian, and the governor recommended that a small ap- 
propriation be made to pay for it. He added that the 
papers in the archives in France shed new light upon the 
annals of Louisiana. " It will appear, for instance, that 
the true object of the conspiracy which O'Reilly deemed 
it his duty to extinguish in the blood of its chiefs, was not, 
as then proclaimed, to restore the dominion of France, 
but to establish a republican government under the pro- 
tection of England. So that Lafreniere and Villere were 
the first martyrs of American liberty, and poured out 
their blood in the attempt to establish a republic in Loui- 
siana eight years before the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence of 1776." The sum of one thousand dollars was ap- 
propriated by the Legislature to pay for the copy of the 


On January 3, 1843, Governor Roman sent his last 
message to the Legislature. 17 He said: 

I leave the office with which I have been honored, with the 
painful conviction of having done very little for the good of the 
State, and of having often failed in preventing what was injuri- 
ous. It affords me some relief, however, to be able to say that I 
have refused my signature to various bills which, but for my dis- 
approval, would have added to the debts of the State the sum of 
seven million one hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars, and 
that the act which binds us to pay, without any consideration, 
five hundred thousand dollars for the Clinton and Port Hudson 
Railroad does not bear my name. My true consolation is in the 
certainty that distress, in a country so endowed with every element 
of prosperity and wealth, cannot be durable. . . . Louisiana must 
yet be prosperous and happy, if the means which we still retain 
are administered with that prudence and economy which should 
have been always observed. 

On January 30, 1843, Alexandre Mouton took the oath 
of office as governor. His competitor had been Henry 
Johnson. The new governor was born in the Attakapas 
country, on November 19, 1804; he was a descendant of 
Acadian exiles who had taken refuge in Louisiana after 
their ruthless expulsion from their homes by Lawrence 
in 1755. When elected governor he had had large ex- 
perience in public affairs, having been Speaker of the 
House and United States senator. He was president 
of the Secession Convention of 1861. General Alfred 
Mouton, killed at Mansfield in 1864, was his son. Gov- 
ernor Mouton was a Democrat in politics. In his inau- 
gural address he expresses his sentiment for State rights ; 
he deplores the unfavorable financial situation of Loui- 


siana, the State owing to the banks one million two hun- 
dred thousand dollars, and for State bonds on which the 
interest was unpaid. There were many other financial 
obligations, but the governor says manfully: 

We must meet the exigencies of our own times, and not throw 
them upon our children ; their days will have their evils, dangers, 
and trials, as ours have had. Then let us not worry them. The 
present generation received our State and metropolis without a 
stain and without a debt. Let us, as far as depends upon us, 
transmit our heritage unimpaired to our successors. 18 

In July, 1844, an election was held for members of 
a convention to revise the Constitution of 1812, the people 
having voted by a great majority for such a revision. 
The convention met at Jackson on August 5, 1844, but 
adjourned on August 24 to meet in New Orleans on 
January 14, 1845. It was in session until May 16, 1845, 
and adopted a constitution. 

Among the members of the convention were the fol- 
lowing: Ex-Governor A. B. Roman, John R. Grymes, 
Felix Garcia, Duncan F. Kenner, Joseph Walker, 
Pierre Soule, Bernard Marigny, George Eustis, Chris- 
tian Roselius, William C. C. Claiborne, C. M. Conrad, 
Judah P. Benjamin, Antoine Boudousquie, Isaac T. 
Preston, and Thomas H. Lewis. Bernard Marigny was 
elected temporary chairman, and Joseph Walker, of 
Rapides, permanent chairman. Horatio Davis was sec- 
retary of the convention. 

The Constitution of 1812 was no longer considered 
sufficiently democratic, and that of 1845 was certainly 


an improvement on it. An important change was the 
creation of a new office, that of lieutenant-governor, who 
was to be president of the Senate and to succeed the gov- 
ernor for the residue of his term, in case of the latter's 
death, removal from office, or resignation. The governor 
and the lieutenant-governor were not required to possess 
any property qualification as in the old Constitution. 
They must have attained the age of thirty-five years, been 
fifteen years citizens of the United States, and residents 
within the State for the same period next preceding the 
election. The governor was made ineligible for the suc- 
ceeding four years after the expiration of the time for 
which he was elected. 

J. D. B. De Bow gives the following account of the 
proceedings of the convention: 

Great and strenuous exertions were made in the Convention to 
apply the native American qualification, and thus exclude from 
this high office whoever may have had the misfortune not to have 
been born amongst us. This, we think, is carrying proscription 
entirely too far, and we rather agree in the main with those elo- 
quent gentlemen who battled against the attempted innovation, 
and so triumphantly demonstrated its unjust and injurious ten- 
dencies. Amongst these most conspicuously stood Mr. Soule, the 
gifted advocate, and Mr. Marign}-. These gentlemen might have 
been considered as the advocates of the French interests of Loui- 
siana, and standing, as it were, intermediate between the order of 
things which belonged to the State in early days, and the new 
one which has been coming upon her. We can appreciate the 
delicacy of their position in the Convention during such a dis- 
cussion as this, and admire the skill, ability, and patriotism with 
which they conducted themselves. " Is it because the times are 
changed," said Mr. Soule, "that we have to seek new subjects 


to immolate upon the altars of prejudice? Be it so. Attempt to 
enforce the spirit of persecution. The times are not far off when, 
yielding this question, it will not only embrace the limits of the 
State, but will gradually come down to districts, then to parishes, 
then to towns, and finally we shall be told that we must choose 
our governor or representatives from such and such a plantation. " 
The case is an extreme one, but we heartily agree with Mr. Soule. 
That proscription, once commenced, will know no limits. 

Mr. Marigny made a long speech full of historical reminis- 
cences, sarcasms, good humor, and admirable good sense. He ap- 
peared to have thrown himself into the subject with an enthusiasm 
which none but a Frenchman could have felt. " Sir," said he to 
Benjamin, " contrary to all parliamentary usage, you call upon 
the other distinguished member from New Orleans, Mr. Soule, and 
ask him : Sir, suppose you had been placed at the head of an army 
to meet in deadly combat your own countrymen, could you, would 
you have done it? Sir, I tell you that you have inflicted upon 
him unjust provocation, and I give you distinctly to understand 
that I take up the glove in his behalf; and, Sir, I trust that you 
will not complain of my not being a native of the country, since 
I descend from those ancient warriors who conquered the country, 
and here represent six generations of Louisianians. Fortunately 
for me, all your fine quotations are lost upon me. I have never 
read any of those works which are supposed necessary to make 
a logical man. But, Mr. President, I am one of those who, look- 
ing at things as they are, feel myself capable of meeting the 
emergency of the hour, and of according my political acts to the 
political wants of my country. But, Sir, I ask you by what right 
do you expect to disfranchise, in 1845, those who have rights 
guaranteed them in 1812. Sir, I tell you — I, Bernard Marigny, 
tell you — that you are, after all, nothing but the servants of the 
people, nothing more, nothing less ; presume upon your authority, 
and they will soon bring you to a just appreciation of their power 
over you; and it would not at all surprise me if they were ob- 
stinately to persist at the very next election in selecting a gov- 


ernor from the very men whom you are so anxious to exclude. 
The laws of the land recognize no distinction between one class 
of citizens and another. Is there any principle of free govern- 
ment, any principle of republicanism, to sanction such a preten- 
sion? They say that a naturalized citizen is not to be intrusted 
with the powers we confer upon our governor. What, Sir, is the 
power of the governor, compared with the power we are now ad- 
ministering? " The native American exclusiveness was thrown out 
of convention, and we consider it dead in Louisiana. 

Hereafter, the elections all over the State are to be completed 
in one day, a provision of much wisdom when it is considered how 
largely it shuts the door against all frauds. The time of elec- 
tion, too, changed from the first Monday in June to the first Mon- 
day of November, evidences a disposition to protect the ballot 
box from the influences of those who are content to make Loui- 
siana only a depot for their merchandise and an office for their 
trade during a part of the year, and have their homes in every 
part of the United States. These men now brave the " baptism 
of yellow fever " or they can never be considered citizens of Loui- 
siana, enjoying the plenitude of the elective franchise. It can- 
not be doubted that the new arrangement will do much towards 
fixing a population with local attachments and sympathies, in 
place of the incongruous masses which have been only crowding 
here for a short season. The voter must have resided two con- 
secutive years in the State, without an absence at one time of 
over ninety days, unless leaving a house or an office in his occupa- 
tion ; with this qualification, every white man may vote. The 
Legislature is to meet biennially, and not to sit longer than sixty 
days ; the policy of which there can be no question about. Long 
parliaments have always been wicked ones. The representative 
must have resided three years in the State, and the senator ten 
years. 19 

The judicial power was to be vested in a Supreme 
Court, in District Courts, and in justices of the peace. 

1845] CONSTITUTION OF 1845 237 

The Legislature was prohibited " from pledging the 
State faith in aid of any private persons, corporations, 
or bodies politic, except so far as issuing bonds against 
outstanding liabilities." 20 

The granting of divorces was left with the courts and 
no longer with the Legislature. A stringent clause was 
inserted against dueling. 

The most important articles about education were the 
following : 

The Legislature shall establish free public schools throughout 
the State, and shall provide means for their support by taxation 
on property or otherwise. 

A university shall be established in the City of New Orleans. 
It shall be composed of four faculties, to wit: one of law, one of 
medicine, one of the natural sciences, and one of letters. 

The university was to be called the " University of 
Louisiana," and the Medical College was to constitute 
the faculty of medicine. The Legislature was ordered 
to provide for the further organization and government 
of the university, but most unwisely and strangely was 
not bound to contribute by appropriations to the estab- 
lishment and support of the institution. A State super- 
intendent of education was to be appointed for the term 
of two years, and a seminary of learning was to be estab- 
lished. The latter institution was founded later at Alex- 
andria, and General William T. Sherman was for a little 
time its superintendent. It was succeeded by the present 
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Me- 
chanical College at Baton Rouge. 


Universal suffrage was established by the Constitution 
of 1845, under which " every free white male, who has 
been two years a citizen of the United States, who has at- 
tained the age of twenty-one years, and resided in the 
State two consecutive years next preceding the election, 
and the last year thereof in the parish in which he offers to 
vote, shall have the right of voting." The Constitution 
was ratified by the people, and the new Legislature met 
on February 9, 1846. Charles Gayarre and Victor 
Debouchel, the historians, were members of the House. 
Gayarre had been a very active member of the last Legis- 
lature, and was of that of 1846. He was, a little later, 
appointed secretary of state by Governor Isaac Johnson. 

In his last message on February 10, 1846, 21 Governor 
Mouton announces the return of prosperity to the State, 
and adds the following words, which have always proved 
to be true in the history of Louisiana: " Happily, there 
is a spirit of enterprise among our citizens, which, aided 
by the productiveness of our soil and the commercial ad- 
vantages of our State, will ever prevent long-continued 
depression." The governor says that, on the requisition 
of the general commanding the Southern Division of the 
United States army, he sent to Texas, in the summer of 
1845, two companies of artillery with field-pieces; and 
that these volunteers, engaged for three months, served 
their time faithfully and secured the marked approbation 
of the general commanding the army in Texas. 

The penitentiary was for several years a source of 
great expense to the State. In 1846 the governor an- 
nounced that it had been leased for a term of five years, 


and the State had been relieved of all its expenses. Re- 
ferring to education, Governor Mouton says: "Expe- 
rience in other States, as well as in this city, proves the 
free-school system to be the only efficient one; all others 
have been vastly expensive and of very little utility." 
He says that, under the provisions of an act of 1842, he 
has purchased two volumes of manuscripts, copied from 
the French archives, respecting the early history of Loui- 
siana, and he recommends that some measure be adopted 
to procure from Spain copies of documents relating to 
Louisiana as a Spanish colony. The State debt, greatly 
reduced, amounted in 1846 to one million three hundred 
thousand dollars, for which bonds had been issued. 
Governor Mouton concludes his message by announcing 
officially the death, on June 8, 1845, of Andrew Jackson. 

It has fallen to the lot of but few men to secure to the same 
degree the confidence and esteem of the people of this country, 
and none more than the citizens of Louisiana knew how to ap- 
preciate the great traits of his noble character; he was specially 
entitled to their gratitude for the signal services which he ren- 
dered in the successful defence of Louisiana from foreign invasion. 

Governor Isaac Johnson, of West Feliciana, was in- 
augurated governor on February 12, 1846. His prin- 
cipal competitor had been William Debuys, former 
Speaker of the House. Trasimond Landry had been 
elected lieutenant-governor. Isaac Johnson had been a 
member of the Legislature and a district judge. In his 
inaugural address he expresses with force his belief in 
the rights of the States as distinct from those of the Gen- 


eral Government. He congratulates the people on the 
accession of Texas to the Union, and he says the estab- 
lishment of free schools will not be easily effected in 
some sparsely settled parts of Louisiana. ' But the 
Legislature will feel the necessity of carrying mental 
culture, by some means, to the humble cottage of the 
poorest child, and make adequate provision accordingly." 
A bill was passed to purchase one hundred copies, at 
three dollars a copy, of Gayarre's " History of Louisi- 
ana," in French, for the use of the public schools : 22 

For the promotion of the literary talent of our common coun- 
try, and more particularly of Louisiana, the law-giving power 
should ever lend its warmest support and countenance. A new 
era is about to dawn upon us in the establishment of free schools, 
and it well becomes a great State to encourage the rising genera- 
tion, by rewards of public gratitude and legislative approval to 
those who have preceded in the walks of literature and science. 
The first volume of the History of Louisiana is undoubtedly 
worthy of the commendation bestowed upon it by the press and 
common opinion, and it is to be hoped that Mr. Gayarre will con- 
tinue his laudable enterprise to a full completion. 

The Legislature adjourned on June 1, 1846, to meet on 
January 11, 1847. It had a great deal of work to do to 
put into effect the different clauses of the new constitu- 
tion. The year 1846 is important in the history of Loui- 
siana. It is noticeable for the war with Mexico and the es- 
tablishment of free public schools and a university. New 
Orleans at that time had four libraries accessible to the 
public. 23 The first in size and importance was that of B. 
F. French, containing about seventy-five hundred vol- 

1846] JUDGE MARTIN 241 

umes. In 1842, when no public library existed in the city, 
Mr. French opened his for the use of the public, for 
reference, free of charge, and it had remained so. The 
second library in importance was that of the State, con- 
taining about three thousand volumes. The third was 
the Public-School Library of the Second Municipality, 
containing about three thousand volumes. This was a 
subscription library. The fourth library was that of the 
Young Men's Free Library Association. This also was 
a subscription library and contained about two thousand 

In 1846 Judge Francois-Xavier Martin died. 24 The 
court of which he had been a member had ceased to exist 
in consequence of the adoption of the constitution of 
1845. This remarkable man was born in Marseilles on 
March 17, 1762. At the age of eighteen years he went 
to Martinique, and then to Newbern, North Carolina. 
There he first taught French, then he became a printer, 
later publisher of a newspaper, and finally was admitted 
to the bar in 1789. While in North Carolina he wrote and 
published books on law and a history of that State. In 
1809 he was appointed judge of the Territory of Mis- 
sissippi, and in 1810 he was transferred to the bench of 
the Superior Court of the Territory of Orleans. In 1812 
he was appointed attorney-general of Louisiana, and in 
1815 a judge of the Supreme Court. He published in 
1827 his History of Louisiana, which is very valuable. 
It is reliable and is written with judgment and impar- 
tiality. The style is clear, though somewhat too dry. 
Judge Martin was exceedingly laborious and highly 


honorable, and his only defect was an extraordinary par- 
simony. He left a large fortune to his brother, and, 
strange to say, the will of that great jurist was contested. 
The Supreme Court, however, maintained it. Martin 
was a foreign member of the Academy of Marseilles and 
a doctor of laws of Harvard University. He died on 
December 10, 1846, and a shaft of granite marks his 
resting-place. He had sat on the bench with George 
Matthews and Pierre Derbigny. 25 The latter resigned 
his seat in 1820 in favor of Judge Porter. In 1846 the 
Supreme Court was reorganized, and the judges were 
George Eustis, chief justice; associates, King, Host, and 

The Louisiana Historical Society was also reorgan- 
ized in 1846. It had been established in 1836, and Judge 
Henry A. Bullard was its first president. In June, 1846, 
it was reorganized by John Perkins, J. D. B. De Bow, 
Edmond J. Forstall, Charles Gayarre, General Joseph 
Walker, and Alfred Hennen. Judge Martin was elected 
president. In 1847 the society was incorporated, and 
Judge Bullard was elected president for the second time, 
and John Perkins and J. D. B. De Bow secretaries. 
Judge Gayarre was elected president in 1860; but the 
time was inauspicious, and the society slumbered from 
1860 to 1877, when a new charter was obtained from the 
Legislature, transferring the domicile of the society from 
Baton Rouge to New Orleans. In 1888 Judge Gayarre 
resigned the office of president, and the Hon. William 
Wirt Howe, a distinguished jurist, was elected president. 
He held that office until February, 1894, when Alcee 


Fortier was elected to succeed him. The events from 
1831 to 1846 are not as spirited as those of preceding 
years, but they are important. They indicate the growth 
of Louisiana as an American State, the adoption of more 
democratic principles in the administration of the com- 
monwealth, and the foundation of a great system of free 
public schools. 


From the Mexican War to the Civil War 

1846 to 1861 

Taylor's army of occupation — Louisiana troops in the Mexican War — Public 
schools helped by the establishment of a university — Governor Isaac John- 
son on the Wilmot Proviso— The University of Louisiana— President 
Hawks's report — Baton Rouge the capital of Louisiana— Consolidation of 
the three municipalities in New Orleans — Epidemics in 1853 and 1854 — 
The Know-Nothing party — The destruction of Last Island — Disorder in 
New Orleans in 1858— Secession Convention of 1861 — Governor Moore takes 
possession of forts and arsenals in Louisiana — Ordinance of Secession. 

j]N July, 1845, General Zachary Tay- 
lor's army of occupation was sent to 
Texas and was encamped at Corpus 
Christi. As his forces were insuffi- 
cient, a call was made upon General 
Edmund Pendleton Gaines, com- 
manding the Department of the 
South, for volunteer artillerists. Great enthusiasm was 
displayed, and two batteries were selected by General 
Gaines — Captain Forno's Native American artillery and 
Captain Bercier's battery of the Orleans artillery. Both 
were placed under the command of Major Gaily, of the 
Orleans artillery, and were despatched to Corpus Christi. 
On the arrival of United States mounted batteries, Gally's 
batteries returned to Louisiana, after three months' ser- 



vice. Zachary Taylor, born in Virginia in 1784, had been 
living in Louisiana since 1840. 

On April 26, 1846, General Taylor called for five 
thousand volunteers from Louisiana and Texas, and 
on May 5 a large meeting was held in New Orleans. The 
president was Colonel William Christy, 1 and the vice- 
presidents were Major Mountford, Peter K. Wagner, 
Alcee La Branche, S. J. Peters, S. W. Downs, and Wil- 
liam C. C. Claiborne. Patriotic resolutions were adopted, 
and speeches were made by Theodore G. Hunt, Randell 
Hunt, and others. A roll was forthwith opened for the 
inscription of names of volunteers, and some one in the 
crowd called out: " Those on the platform sign first." 
The suggestion was complied with, and the roll was 
signed with enthusiasm by the officers of the meeting and 
by many other men. On May 9 a stand of colors was 
presented to General Persif er F. Smith, for the Louisiana 
volunteers, by the ladies of New Orleans. On May 10 
the Louisiana Legion offered its services through General 
Donatien Augustin. General William Debuys, former 
candidate for governor, shouldered a musket alongside 
of his sons in the Orleans Guards. On May 25 there was 
a mass meeting, presided over by Governor Isaac John- 
son, and thanks were voted to Generals Taylor and 
Gaines, and to Taylor's soldiers, to Governor Johnson, 
and to the authorities of the State, and satisfaction was 
expressed at the enthusiastic response of the citizens. 
The battles of Palo Alto on May 8, 1846, and of Chap- 
peralo on May 9 were declared to be among the proudest 
memorials of American skill, discipline, and gallantry. 


Besides the Louisiana Legion, the number of volunteers 
was forty-eight hundred and sixty-four in June, 1846. 
The Legislature made an appropriation of three hun- 
dred thousand dollars, and the soldiers were quickly en- 
camped, says Colonel William Miller Owen in " Memoirs 
of Louisiana," on the Rio Grande from its mouth to 
Matamoras. The same writer adds: 

Strange to say, up to March 1, 1847, in all the battles with 
Mexico, the Louisiana State militia was represented by General 
Persifer F. Smith and the Phoenix Company, Captain Albert 
G. Blanchard, Lieutenants Tenbrink and Scott. 

As the Louisiana volunteers had enlisted for three and 
six months, and the War Department preferred twelve- 
month volunteers, most of the men from Louisiana were 
mustered out of service before the end of the war. Cap- 
tain A. G. Blanchard deserves great credit for raising the 
Phoenix Company from the ashes, as it were, of the Loui- 
siana militia, and for serving until the war was ended. 
With regard to the capture of Monterey, Kendall says: 

To render success certain, the Fifth Infantry, with Captain 
Blanchard's Louisiana Volunteers — the latter as good and trusty 
soldiers as ever shouldered a musket — were sent to do the work. 

Colonel Owen mentions a battalion of volunteers raised 
in Louisiana in May, 1847, commanded by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Charles Filsca, which performed good service 
under General Scott until July, 1848. During the war 
with Mexico a distinguished son of Louisiana began a 


celebrated military career, G. T. Beauregard, who was 
destined to play an important part in the Civil War. 

In his message of January 11, 1847, Governor Isaac 
Johnson refers at length to the Mexican War and an- 
nounces the death of United States Senator Alexander 
Borrow. The latter was succeeded by the great orator 
Pierre Soule. The first Legislature convened under the 
constitution of 1845 terminated its labors on May 4, 1847, 
and the Speaker, Preston W. Farrar, delivered a vale- 
dictory address, the first of the kind in the history of 

The Legislature met on January 17, 1848, in regular 
session at New Orleans for the last time before the re- 
moval of the capital to Baton Rouge. Governor Isaac 
Johnson's message of January 18 is an able and very 
complete state paper. 2 The governor declares that he is 
in favor of annual and limited sessions of the Legislature, 
and that if sessions are biennial they should be unlimited. 
He announces that the University of Louisiana has be- 
gun its operations, and says the establishment of a system 
of education, beginning with the common schools and 
ending in the university, will be hailed as the brightest 
era that has yet occurred in the history of the State. If 
the university is sustained, " then, and perhaps not till 
then, the common-school system will have become deeply 
and firmly fixed in the habits and affections of the people, 
who with fair opportunity will fully comprehend the 
truth that even the learning of one man makes a thou- 
sand learned." 

Governor Johnson says the volunteer troops from Loui- 


siana have been denied the rare good fortune of partici- 
pating in any of the great battles of the war with Mexico, 
but he adds that " in all contests with the enemy, in the 
shifts and turns of guerrilla warfare, in patient endur- 
ance and discipline, they have proved themselves quite 
equal to experienced veterans." The governor speaks 
with indignation of the Wilmot Proviso as an attack upon 
the institution of slavery, and says it is a question over 
which Congress is not invested with the slightest author- 
ity under any circumstances. " The issue has been forced, 
and it should be met respectfully and temperately ; but at 
the same time with a firm and uncompromising resistance. 
Let us, at least, take care that they who have sowed the 
speck of storm shall not force us to reap the whirlwind." 
These were ominous words delivered thirteen years before 
the fated year 1861. 

A sword and a gold medal were presented to General 
Zachary Taylor by the State, and a sword to General 
Scott and one to General Worth. The patriotism of the 
Legislature during the Mexican War was as great as 
during the invasion by the British in 1814 and 1815. 

The Legislature adjourned on March 16, 1848, to meet 
in Baton Rouge in 1850, and the Speaker, Preston W. 
Farrar, in his valedictory address, referred feelingly to 
the city of New Orleans: 3 

This is the last meeting of the Legislature of the State in its 
ancient and renowned capital. By the fiat of the people, this noble 
city, founded and inhabited by the fathers of Louisiana, and of 
all other spots more boldly allied with her chivalry and romantic 
history — whose name is associated with a victory that electrified 

1848] REPORT OF DR. HAWKS 249 

all Europe with wonder and with admiration for the valor and 
prowess of American arms — a city whose fame " sits on a high 
hill," and attracts the confidence of the world, and on this flourish- 
ing commonwealth reflects so much honor and glory — has, by 
those who are its natural guardians, and who should have been 
its protectors, been decreed unfit to even dispense the commonest 
hospitality to the representatives of the people. . . . Perhaps 
it has been aptly though fortuitously ordained that the last 
Speaker in this Chamber should himself be a citizen of New Or- 
leans, and that he should surrender to the iron will of the Con- 
vention the keys of the old Capitol. It is done. And we now 
bid it God-speed, and entreat that the new mistress of the people 
may resemble our own proud city in all things, except its ability 
to serve and its fortune to please the people. 

The University of Louisiana, referred to in Governor 
Isaac Johnson's message, was successful in its depart- 
ments of medicine and law. The academical depart- 
ment did not prosper, although commerce was introduced 
as one of the subjects taught, and the distinguished edi- 
tor J. D. B. De Bow was made professor of that impor- 
tant branch of knowledge. Rev. Dr. F. L. Hawks was 
the first president of the university, and in his report in 
1848 he says: " Without adopting all the views of mod- 
ern utilitarianism, we hesitate not to say that the educa- 
tion is essentially defective which discards all consider- 
ation of utility." He recommends a thorough knowledge 
of the French and Spanish languages, a practical scien- 
tific course, and the establishment of a professorship of 

There was a special session of the Legislature in De- 
cember, 1848, to consider the question of free public 


schools, and five hundred and fifty thousand dollars were 
appropriated for their organization and support. The 
first superintendent of public education was the distin- 
guished scholar Alexander Dimitry. 

The Legislature met for the first time at Baton Rouge 
on January 21, 1850, and Preston W. Farrar was again 
elected Speaker of the House, in spite of his dislike of 
the new capital of the State. In his message, Governor 
Isaac Johnson urges an increased appropriation for free 
public schools, and says that already twenty-two thousand 
children are being educated in those schools. 4 He refers 
in energetic words to the " repeated, galling, and unpro- 
voked aggressions of antislavery." 

On January 28, 1850, General Joseph Walker took the 
oath of office as governor, and General J. B. Plauche as 
lieutenant-governor. Their opponents had been A. De- 
clouet and D. F. Kenner. In his inaugural address Gov- 
ernor Walker mentions the happy selections made by the 
people in the parishes where elections had been held, and 
recommends that the constitution be amended so that all 
judges be elected. He lays much stress on the necessity 
for good public schools and, like his predecessor, expresses 
his sentiments very forcibly on the antislavery agitation. 

Joseph Marshall Walker was born in New Orleans, 
but became a cotton-planter in Rapides parish. 5 He was 
a Democrat in politics, as had been Governors Isaac John- 
son and Alexandre Mouton. Indeed, under the skilful 
leadership of John Slidell, the Democratic party retained 
the administration of affairs in Louisiana until the times 
of the Civil War. 

1852] CONSTITUTION OF 1852 251 

The Constitution of 1845 was not considered to be suf- 
ficiently democratic, and, notwithstanding the opposition 
of Governor Walker, a convention was called to change 
it. The governor had reaped what he had sown when 
he had advised an amendment making the offices of all 
judges elective. The convention assembled in Baton 
Rouge on July 5, 1852, and adjourned on July 31. The 
president was Duncan F. Kenner, and the secretary J. B. 
Walton. The Constitution of 1852 was a very radical 
production. The candidates for governor and lieutenant- 
governor were no longer required to be thirty-five years 
of age and to have been fifteen years citizens of the United 
States and residents of Louisiana for the same period 
next preceding the election. By the new constitution, 
the age required was twenty-eight years, and the time 
of citizenship and residence within the State was reduced 
to four years. The offices of all judges, including the 
Supreme Court, were made elective, the sessions of the 
Legislature were to be annual and limited to sixty days, 
and, says Mr. Gayarre, " the restriction against running 
the State into debt and against creating banks, being 
found inconvenient, was left out in the new constitution." 

In 1852 the three municipalities in New Orleans were 
consolidated into one, and the city of Lafayette was in- 
cluded in the city limits. 6 In the new city government 
there were two chambers, one of aldermen elected by mu- 
nicipal districts, and one of assistant aldermen elected by 
wards. There was a mayor, ex-officio chief of police, and 
a controller, a surveyor, and a street commissioner. 

The Constitution of 1852 ordained that the secretary 


of the Senate and the clerk of the House of Representa- 
tives be conversant with the French and English lan- 
guages, and members were allowed to address either 
house in French or in English. 

In his last message, on January 17, 1853, Governor 
"Walker speaks more hopefully of the condition of na- 
tional affairs, and gives good advice with regard to the 
power granted by the constitution to create banking in- 
stitutions, saying that probably there never was a time 
when it was less necessarv to extend this class of facilities 
than the present. With regard to the necessity of edu- 
cating the people, he utters the following wise words : 7 

Mexico, a neighboring Republic, possesses a constitution and 
form of government almost identically the same as ours, and yet 
she is subject to an almost constant reign of anarchy and despot- 
ism, while we enjoy all the blessings of peace and good govern- 
ment. Why is this? Why this difference? It is mainly, without 
doubt, to be attributed to the superior education and intelligence 
of our people. The best form of government is but of little avail 
to a people unless the right views and right feeling prevail among 
its great masses, and this can never be the case unless the youth 
are blessed with a good education. 

Governor Walker says he agrees with Judge Gayarre, 
the secretary of state, in his recommendation that the 
French and Spanish historical documents belonging to 
the State should be published. The governor pays a high 
tribute to Gayarre as a historian, and quotes from the 
fifth volume of Bancroft's History of the United States 
the following well-deserved compliment: " The work of 


Gayarre is one of great merit and authority, built firmly 
on trustworthy documents." 

On January 18, 1853, the votes cast for governor and 
lieutenant-governor were counted, and Paul O. Hebert 
and W. W. Farmer were declared elected. The new 
governor was of Acadian descent and was born on No- 
vember 12, 1818. 8 He was educated at Jefferson Col- 
lege, in St. James parish, and was graduated at West 
Point in 1840. He became a lieutenant in the engineer 
corps, and in 1841 assistant professor of engineering at 
the Military Academy. He resigned from the army in 
1845 and was appointed chief engineer to the State of 
Louisiana. He took a brilliant part in the Mexican War, 
and in the Civil War served as a Confederate brigadier- 
general in the Trans-Mississippi Department. He died 
on April 20, 1880. 

The year 1853 was noted for the most disastrous epi- 
demic of yellow fever that had yet visited Louisiana. In 
1854 the disease appeared again, but with somewhat less 
virulence. These were the times of filibustering expedi- 
tions, and when the news of the fate of Lopez was known 
in New Orleans there was a riot against the Spanish con- 
sulate. In spite of the desolation caused by yellow fever 
in 1853 and 1854, the State was prosperous, and we are 
astonished to see the following words in Governor Hu- 
bert's message in 1855 with regard to the public schools : 
" Indeed, the system may be considered almost a failure, 
or rather it is not a system. It is the bewildering con- 
fusion of chaos." In spite of this harsh criticism, the 
system did prosper until disorganized by the war. 


The year 1855 "was marked by what may be called the 
demolition of the ' Know-Nothing ' party in Louisiana." 9 
This was a secret, oath-bound fraternity, organized in 
1852, which had for its purpose opposition to foreign 
citizenship. Its objects, however, were not made known 
even to the members until they had reached the higher 
degrees, and when questions were asked by outsiders the 
members would reply, " I don't know," whence the name 
of " Know-Nothings." As early as 1835 an attempt was 
made in New York City to organize a movement against 
foreigners, but it failed, only to be revived in 1843 and 
1844 in New Jersey and in Philadelphia. 10 In 1853 a se- 
cret political party was organized, and it carried Massa- 
chusetts and Delaware in 1854. In 1855 it gained ground 
in New York, and especially in the Southern States. 
Judge Gayarre, who was an eye-witness to these events, 
gives the following account of the demolition of the "mys- 
terious order" of Know-Nothings: " Thus far it was a 
mere State organization, but it soon was found indispen- 
sable to connect it with the other lodges of the same order 
in the other States, with a view to establish upon the origi- 
nal association a national party. To this effect, there was 
to be a grand meeting of all the lodges in Philadelphia 
in the month of May. It was to be an imposing Conven- 
tion, in which means were to be devised to strengthen 
the association, and to enable it to elect a President of the 
United States and secure the reins of the government. 
But it began to be rumored at this time in Louisiana that 
the main object of this wide-spread organization was the 
proscription of Catholics. It produced great excitement, 


and it was determined to test the question. Six delegates, 
of whom five "were Protestants and one a Catholic, were 
elected to the Philadelphia Convention. On their pre- 
senting themselves to that body, the five Protestants were 
told that they could come in, but the Catholic was re- 
jected unless he consented to make certain concessions, to 
which he was not in the least disposed to assent. His 
Protestant colleagues remonstrated in vain against such 
a distinction, and the result was, that they retired with 
their Catholic associate. On the report of this fact, made 
in an immense meeting in New Orleans, the Know-No- 
thing party in Louisiana emphatically refused affiliation 
with the party of that name in the other States, and from 
that time this celebrated order, which seemed at first to 
be gifted with such exuberant vitality, rapidly decreased 
in numbers and influence in Louisiana, because many 
hurried to withdraw their names and cooperation." In 
1856 the Know-Nothings called themselves the " Ameri- 
can Party," and had Millard Fillmore for their candi- 
date for President. In 1860 the " American Party " took 
the name of the " Constitutional Union Party," and it 
soon disappeared in the turmoil of war. 

In 1856 took place the catastrophe called the Last 
Island storm. On August 10 the island, which was a 
pleasure resort, was swept by a wave from the Gulf, and 
nearly two hundred persons perished. This calamity in- 
spired Lafcadio Hearn to produce his charming novel, 
" Chita," in which he depicts the horrors of the tempest. 

Robert C. Wickliffe was inaugurated governor of 
Louisiana in January, 1856. He was a native of Ken- 


tucky, where his father had occupied important offices. 
Governor Wickliffe had been a State senator and was 
a Democrat. In his message of January, 1857, the gov- 
ernor mentions the disorders that had taken place in New 
Orleans at the two last general elections, when acts of 
violence were committed by " organized ruffians " on 
naturalized citizens. The evil came, says Gayarre, from 
" that corruption which enabled foreigners just landing 
on our shores to vote, and which put two or three thou- 
sand illegal voters at the disposal of whatever party had 
the means of buying them.'' " 

On June 4, 1858, New Orleans was threatened with 
civil war. 12 Under orders of a vigilance committee, about 
five hundred men took possession of the arsenal and 
court-house at Jackson Square and barricaded the streets. 
On June 5 they were joined by about one thousand armed 
men. The Native American party, on its side, had taken 
possession of Lafayette Square and had planted cannon 
there. Fortunately, there was no strife on election day, 
June 7, and the Native American candidate, Gerard 
Stith, was elected mayor. His opponent had been Colo- 
nel G. T. Beauregard. 

In 1859 Judah P. Benjamin was elected United States 
senator, but he was not to remain long a member of that 
body. In his last message to the Legislature, in 1860, 
Governor Wickliffe referred to the raid of John Brown 
at Harper's Ferry. The war was inevitable, and Wick- 
liffe's successor, Thomas Overton Moore, was assuming 
a heavy burden when he took the oath of office in 1860. 

Governor Moore was a native of North Carolina. He 


was a resident of Rapides parish when elected governor. 
Like his predecessor, he had been a State senator and 
was a Democrat. He called the Legislature in special 
session, in December, 1860, and said: "I do not think 
it comports with the honor and self-respect of Louisiana, 
as a slave-holding State, to live under the government of 
a Black Republican President." The governor advised 
that a State Convention be called to meet at once. The 
convention met on January 23, 1861, at Baton Rouge. 
Ex-Governor Alexandre Mouton was elected president, 
and J. T. Wheat secretary. On taking the chair, Presi- 
dent Mouton delivered an address which ended with the 
following words: 13 

I mistake very much the character of this body, if calmness 
and deliberation do not mark its proceedings, and if we are to 
be disturbed by angry discussions. At all events, we are engaged 
in an important cause, the cause of a brave, loyal, and enlight- 
ened people asserting their rights, and I trust that, with the help 
of God, they will be able to carry them out. 

The Legislature had met in regular session at the same 
time as the convention, and the governor transmitted to 
the latter body, on January 24, his annual message to the 
General Assembly. Governor Moore said that, " In ac- 
cordance with an arrangement entered into with the com- 
manding officer, in the presence of a force too large to be 
resisted, Baton Rouge barracks and arsenal, with all the 
Federal property therein, were turned over to me on 
the eleventh and twelfth instant, and on the thirteenth 
the Federal troops departed. About the same time the 


State troops occupied Fort Pike, on the Rigolets, and 
Forts Jackson and St. Philip, on the Mississippi River, 
and such other dispositions were made as seemed neces- 
sary for the public safety." 14 

A motion was made by Louis Bush to approve the 
course of the governor in taking possession of the forts, 
arsenals, and munitions of war within the limits of the 
State, and was carried by a vote of one hundred and 
nineteen yeas to five nays. 

On January 26, 1861, John Perkins, Jr., of Madison, 
called up the following ordinance of secession, reported 
by him as chairman of the Committee of Fifteen: 15 

An Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of Loui- 
siana and other States united with her under the compact entitled 
" The Constitution of the United States of America." 
We, the people of the State of Louisiana, in Convention as- 
sembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and 
ordained, That the ordinance passed by us in Convention on the 
22d day of November, in the year 1811, whereby the Constitu- 
tion of the United States of America and the amendments of the 
said Constitution were adopted, and all laws and ordinances by 
which the State of Louisiana became a member of the Federal 
Union, be and the same are hereby repealed and abrogated; and 
that the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States, 
under the name of " The United States of America," is hereby 

We do further declare and ordain, That the State of Louisiana 
hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the 
Government of the United States of America; that her citizens 
are absolved from all allegiance to said Government ; and that she 
is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty 
which appertain to a free and independent State. 


We do further declare and ordain, That all rights acquired and 
vested under the Constitution of the United States, or any act 
of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this State, and not 
incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have 
the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed. 

The ordinance was adopted by a vote of one hundred 
and twelve yeas to seventeen nays. Ex-Governor A. B. 
Roman was among those who voted in the negative. He 
signed the ordinance, however, and cast his lot with the 

The president of the convention, Ex-Governor Mou- 
ton, was permitted to give his vote on the adoption of the 
ordinance, which he did in the affirmative. When the 
result of the vote was ascertained, President Mouton 
said: " In virtue of the vote just announced, I now de- 
clare the connection between the State of Louisiana and 
the Federal Union dissolved, and that she is a free, sov- 
ereign, and independent power." 

Thomas O. Moore, Governor of the " Independent 
State of Louisiana," came upon the floor, " preceded by 
the flag of the State, and took position on the platform 
of the president." 16 

Prayer was offered by the Rev. W. E. N. Lingfield, 
and the flag was blessed by Father Hubert. The fol- 
lowing resolution, presented by Mr. Perkins, was then 
unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, That we, the people of the State of Louisiana, rec- 
ognize the right of the free navigation of the Mississippi River 
and its tributaries by all friendly States bordering thereon. And 


we also recognize the right of egress and ingress of the mouths 
of the Mississippi by all friendly States and powers ; and we do 
hereby declare our willingness to enter into any stipulations to 
guarantee the exercise of said rights. 

On motion of Mr. Perkins, the Ordinance of Secession 
was signed by the president of the Convention, and by the 
delegates to the number of one hundred and twenty-one. 
The Convention adjourned on January 26, to meet in 
New Orleans, on January 29, at the City Hall. 

On January 30 the Convention elected six delegates 
to represent Louisiana in the Convention to assemble at 
Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. They 
were: John Perkins, Jr., Alexander Declouet, Charles 
M. Conrad, Duncan F. Kenner, Edward Sparrow, and 
Henry Marshall. 

On February 5 an ordinance was passed for the estab- 
lishment of a regular military force for the State of Loui- 
siana, and on February 11 a State flag was adopted. 
The chairman of the committee, J. K. Elgee, of Rapides, 
made these remarks about the flag: 

We dedicate, therefore, the thirteen stripes upon our flag to 
the memory of those whose unconquerable love of freedom has 
taught us, this day, how peacefully to vindicate our rights and 
protect our liberties. The committee, too, could not forget that 
another race, bold, warlike, and adventurous, had planted the 
first colony of white men on the shores of Louisiana ; the name of 
our State, that of our city, nay, even the morning roll-call of the 
Convention, as it summoned us to our duties, bade us remember 
that some tribute was due to the children and descendants of the 
founders of the colony — the blue, the white, the red, emblems of 

1861] THE STATE FLAG 261 

hope, virtue, and valor, to the memory of those who first on this soil 
laid the foundation of an empire. Still another race and another 
nation remained, who equally demanded a recognition in a flag de- 
signed to be national. If to France we are indebted for the founda- 
tion of the colony, Spain merits an acknowledgment at our hands, 
for by her was the infant structure built up. Her mild and pa- 
ternal rule is yet spoken of by the oldest inhabitants, whilst the 
great body of our law stands this day a monument of her wisdom. 
To the children of Spain we dedicate the colors of red and yellow, 
which we have woven into our plan. The star cannot fail to re- 
mind you that Louisiana has arisen to take her place in the 
political firmament. Uniting, then, our three distinct nationalities 
into one, we present a flag which carries with it a symbol dear to 
every American, whether it be at the last hour of dissolution, or the 
dawn of a new birth — it is the badge of Union. 17 

On March 21, 1861, on motion of T. J. Semmes, the 
Convention assented to and ratified the Constitution of 
the Confederate States of America, adopted at Mont- 
gomery on March 11, 1861. The State Constitution of 
1852 was amended in several particulars to suit the al- 
tered condition of things, and the Convention adjourned 
finally on March 26, 1861. The members of that body 
had done a great and serious work, and had accomplished 
their task with dignity and with a full sense of the heavy 
responsibility that rested upon them. In seceding from 
the Federal Union the people of Louisiana knew that 
this act meant war. They did not shrink from the ordeal, 
and they fought bravely and well for rights which they 
considered sacred. 




1 Almonester. 

2 Martin's Louisiana, Vol. II, p. 238. 

3 View of the Political Situation of Louisiana from the thirtieth 
of November, 1803, to the first of October, 1804. By a Native. 
Translated from the French. P. 16. 

4 Martin's Louisiana, Vol. II, p. 241. 

5 Annals of Congress, 1803-1804. 

6 City Archives — American Documents, 1804-1814. 

7 City Archives. 

8 Martin's Louisiana, Vol. II, pp. 249, 250. 

9 Louisiana Gazette, October 5, 1804 (City Archives). 

10 Louisiana Gazette, December 7, 1804. 

11 Martin says erroneously that the Council adjourned in February. 

12 Acts passed at the first session of the Legislative Council of the 
Territory of Orleans, 1805. 

13 Louisiana Gazette, July 12, 1805. 

14 The American Pioneer, Vol. II, No. 5, p. 227. From the 
private collection of Mr. William Beer, librarian of the Howard 
Memorial Library. 

15 Charivaris. 

16 The widow of Almonester. 


1 Martin's Louisiana, Vol. II, p. 261. 

2 Louisiana Gazette, May, 1806. 

3 Monette's Valley of the Mississippi, Vol. II, p. 454. 

4 Monette's Valley of the Mississippi. 

5 Monette's Valley of the Mississippi, Vol. II, p. 465. 



6 Parton's Life of Burr. 

7 Jefferson's Message to Congress, January 22, 1807. 

8 McMaster, Vol. Ill, p. 88. 

9 Moniteur de la Louisiane, July 7, 1806. 

10 Acts published by authority, 1807. 


1 The Batture at New Orleans : An Address to the People of the 
United States (1808). 

2 The New Orleans Book, edited by Robert Gibbes Barnwell, 
p. 14. 

3 Louisiana and her Laws, by Henry J. Leovy, in the New Orleans 
Book (1851), p. 232. 

4 City Archives — American Documents, 1804-1814. 

6 Henry L. Favrot, the West Florida Revolution, in Publications 
of the Louisiana Historical Society, 1895. 

6 Favrot, in Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society, 1895, 
calls attention to the fact that Gayarre and Martin are in error in 
saying that De Lassus was absent at the time of the attack. Gayarre 
and McMaster say also erroneously that Grandpre was the only man 
killed on the side of the Spaniards. 

7 Favrot. 

8 Annals of Congress, 1810-1811, p. 1254. 

9 Favrot. 

30 McMaster, Vol. Ill, p. 373. 

11 Annals of Congress, 1810-1811, p. 1251. 

12 Martin's Louisiana. 

13 Annals of Congress, 1810-1811, p. 482. 
"Annals of Congress, 1810-1811, p. 525. 

15 Annals of Congress, 1810-1811, p. 1326. 

16 It had been suggested to give to the new State the name of 
Jefferson, but Bernard Marigny says, in his Reflections on the 
Campaign of General Jackson, p. 44, that Louis De Blanc de St. 
Denis, from Attakapas, declared that if such a proposition had any 
chance of success he would arm himself with a barrel of powder and 
blow up the Convention. 

17 Report of John T. Michel, Secretary of State, 1902. 

NOTES 267 


1 De Bow's Review, Vol. XIX, p. 148. 

2 Lacarriere Latour's Historical Memoir of the War in West 
Florida and Louisiana in 1814 and 1815, p. 13. 

3 He signed his name " Laffite," but we shall keep the spelling 
generally adopted. 

4 Alexander Walker's Jackson and New Orleans, p. 37. 

5 From a paper in the possession of Mr. Hugues J. de Lavergne, 
a great-grandson of General Villere. 

6 Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vol. XVI, p. 40. 

7 Gayarre's Louisiana, Vol. IV, p. 335. 

8 It is needless to say that Colonel Fortier and Major Lacoste were 
not colored men. They belonged to families which, in 1814, had 
been nearly a century in Louisiana. Colonel Fortier had served in 
Galvez's army in his campaign against the English, from 1779 to 
1781, and had long been a captain of artillery in the militia service 
of Spain. 

Latour, Appendix, p. xii. 

10 Latour, Notes, p. 254. 

11 Louisiana Gazette. 

12 Louisiana Gazette. 

13 Latour, p. 31. 

14 Henry Adams, History of the United States, Vol. VIII, p. 326. 

15 Latour, p. 50. 

16 Alexander Walker, p. 92. The Author of the Subaltern, George 
Robert Gleig, an Englishman, gives the number of the troops as 
5000. He says, however, that the force was " formidable." 

17 Latour, Appendix, p. xxxiv, Jones's Report. 

18 Walker, p. 104. 

19 Latour, p. 62. 

20 Gleig, Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and 
New Orleans in the years 1814 and 1815, p. 259- 

21 Martin's Louisiana, p. 368. 

22 Latour, p. 78. See Plate 5 of his Atlas. 

23 Latour, Appendix, p. cxliii, Keane's Report. 

24 Walker, p. 126. 


25 Latour, p. 88. 

26 The tradition in the Villere family agrees with Walker's narra- 
tive of the incident, and there is no doubt that Major Gabriel Villere 
was the first person that informed Jackson of the arrival of the 
British. In his flight through the woods he was obliged to kill a 
favorite dog which had accompanied him and would have betrayed 
him while he was hidden in a tree. Major Villere was a brave and 
honorable man, and was unanimously acquitted by a court martial 
that tried him for having been surprised by the British. He had 
refused to present any testimony in his defense. 


1 Latour, p. 91. 

2 Latour, p. 105. 

3 Latour, Appendix, p. xlv. 

4 Latour, p. 117. 

5 Martin (Gresham's edition), p. 378. 

6 Gayarre, Vol. IV, p. 568. 

7 Latour, p. 146. 

8 Walker, p. 317. 

9 Latour, p. 173. 

10 Henry Adams, Vol. VIII, p. 380. Jackson, in his second report 
of the battle, gives his loss on the left bank as seven killed and six 
wounded, and this number has been accepted by historians. 

11 Latour, p. 184. 

12 Latour, Appendix, p. lii. 

13 " This was in the action on the line; afterward skirmishing was 
kept up, in which a few more of our men were lost." 

14 Major Carmick. 

15 Latour, Appendix, p. clxxxv. 


1 From papers in the possession of Mr. Hugues J. de Lavergne. 

2 Latour, p. 204. 

* Walker, Jackson and New Orleans, p. 402. 

4 Latour, p. 218. 

5 Martin (Gresham's edition), p. 388. 

NOTES 269 

6 Judge Martin's translation. 

7 Martin, p. 399- 

8 Martin, p. 404. 

The original amount of the fine, with interest for thirty years, 
was refunded, in 1845, to General Jackson by an act of Congress, 
on the recommendation of President Tyler. The Legislature of Loui- 
siana, at that time, proposed to refund the amount from the treasury 
of the State. 

10 Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vol. XVI, p. 41. 

11 Castellanos, New Orleans as It Was, p. 310. 

12 Castellanos, p. 89- 

13 P. Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire Universel. 

14 Castellanos, p. 49. 

15 Bernard Marigny, Reflexions sur la Campagne du General 
Andre Jackson en Louisiane en 1814 et 1815. 

16 In French : " Qu'il f allait avoir le diable au corps pour f aire de 
Magloire Guichard un conspirateur ? " 

17 It is said that it was General Moreau who indicated that point 
to St. Geme, in 1 804, as an admirable one for defense. 


1 Victor Debouchel, Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 136. 

2 Monette's Valley of the Mississippi, Vol. II, p. 517- 

3 Journal de la Chambre des Representants — Seconde Session de la 
Seconde Legislature, p. 11. The name is spelled Roufiniaco. 

4 Louisiana Gazette, March 26, 1816. 

5 Louisiana Gazette, July, 1816. 

6 Journal of the House of Representatives, First Session, Third 
Legislature, p. 6. 

7 Journal of the House, First Session, Third Legislature, p. 5. 

8 Louisiana Courier, November 25, 1817. 

9 Biographical Sketches of Louisiana's Governors, by a Louisia- 
naise (1885). 

10 Darby, Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana, 
p. 187. 

11 Debouchel, Histoire de la Louisiane, pp. 137, 138. 

12 Journal of the House, First Session, Third Legislature, p. 55. 


13 Journal of the House, Second Session, Third Legislature, p. 4. 

14 Journal of the House, Second Session, Third Legislature, p. 51. 

15 Journal of the House, First Session, Fourth Legislature, p. 5. 

16 Journal of the House, Second Session, Fourth Legislature, p. 4. 

17 Journal of the House, First Session, Fifth Legislature, p. 5. 

18 Journal of the House, First Session, Fifth Legislature, p. 22. 

19 Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire Universel. 

20 Fortier's Louisiana Studies, p. 260. 

21 De Bow's Review, Vol. XI, p. 437. 

22 Journal of the House, First Session, Fifth Legislature, p. 30. 

23 Journal of the House, First Session, Sixth Legislature, p. 5. 

24 Debouchel, Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 141. 

25 Valcour Aime, Plantation Diary, p. 8. 

26 Debouchel, Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 140. 

27 Journal of the House, Second Session, Sixth Legislature, p. 5. 

28 Louisiana's Governors, by a Louisianaise. 

29 Journal of the House, First Session, Seventh Legislature, p. 34. 

30 Journal of the House, First Session, Seventh Legislature, p. 82. 

31 We translate from the French text. 

32 A. Levasseur, Lafayette en Amerique en 1824 et 1825. 

33 Journal of the House, Second Session, Seventh Legislature, p. 3. 

34 Debouchel, Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 143. 

35 Louisiana's Governors, by a Louisianaise. 
38 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 418. 

37 Journal of the House, First Session, Ninth Legislature, p. 33. 

88 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 416. 

89 Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire Universel. 

40 Condon's Annals, in Gresham's Martin, p. 431. 

41 Debouchel, p. 146. 

42 House Journal, p. 3. 

43 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 428. 


1 W. H. Sparks, Memories of Fifty Years, p. 450. 

a House Journal, First Session, Tenth Legislature, p. 5$. 

3 House Journal, First Session, Tenth Legislature, p. 151. 

4 Debouchel, p. 147. 

NOTES 271 

B House Journal, First Session, Eleventh Legislature. 

9 House Journal, Second Session, Twelfth Legislature, p. 2. 

7 W. H. Sparks, Memories of Fifty Years, p. 438. 

8 Debouchel, p. 157. 

9 Debouchel, p. 161. 

10 House Journal, First Session, Fourteenth Legislature, p. 41. 

11 Debouchel, p. 175. 

12 W. C. Stubbs, in Standard History of New Orleans, p. 652. 

13 E. J. Forstall, in De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 54. 

14 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 165. 

15 House Journal, First Session, Fifteenth Legislature. 

16 De Bow's Review, Vol. XI, p. 441. 

17 House Journal, First Session, Sixteenth Legislature, p. 3. 

18 House Journal. 

19 D. B. De Bow, in De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 423. 

20 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 426. 

21 House Journal, First Session, First Legislature, p. 3. 

22 House Journal, March 12, 1846, p. 19. 

23 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 381. 

24 William Wirt Howe, Memoir of Francois-Xavier Martin. 

25 De Bow's Review, Vol. I, p. 418. 


1 Louisiana Courier, May 5, 1 846. 

2 House Journal, p. 4. 

3 House Journal, p. 176. 
* House Journal, p. 8. 

6 Louisiana's Governors, by a Louisianaise. 

6 Norman Walker, Municipal Government, in Standard History 
of New Orleans, p. 98. 

7 House Journal, p. 5. 

8 Louisiana's Governors, p. 34. 

9 Gayarre, Vol. IV, p. 678. 

10 Harper's Encyclopaedia of United States History. 

11 Gayarre, Vol. IV, p. 684. 


12 Condon's Annals of Louisiana, in Martin, p. 455. 

13 Journal of the Convention of 1861, p. 5. 

14 Journal of the Convention, p. 14. 

15 Journal of the Convention, p. 17. 

16 Journal of the Convention, p. 18. 

17 Journal of the Convention, p. 47. 



















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